Dispute Over Venue for Lac-Megantic Wrongful Death Claims Heats Up
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 14, 2014 – A federal judge in Portland, Maine recently heard arguments on whether Illinois or Maine will be the proper jurisdiction for a recent, tragic wrongful death case.
Nineteen wrongful death claims have risen from the July 2013 derailment of a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) Railway train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. The accident resulted in at least 42 deaths.
The trustee overseeing MMA during bankruptcy proceedings moved to transfer the wrongful death cases to Maine. The company hopes to consolidate actions associated with its bankruptcy.
Attorneys representing the victims’ families opposed the motion, in part because Maine has a $500,000 cap on wrongful death damages. Illinois has no such cap.
The wrongful death claims were filed in Illinois, where RailWorld Inc., the company that owned MMA, is based. In some of the suits, MMA was initially named as a defendant, but it was later dropped because bankruptcy law dictates that wrongful death claims associated with a company filing for bankruptcy be handled in the district court where the bankruptcy is handled.
“The dispute over the venue for these cases is not surprising, as so much is at stake,” says Paul Greenberg, a Chicago wrongful death attorney not involved in the case.
Attorneys for the victims’ families argued that, because MMA was dropped as a defendant, the lawsuits would not affect MMA’s bankruptcy. The trustee for MMA argued that case law supported his position that the wrongful death claims were still related to the bankruptcy and could have an effect on it. By his reasoning, they should be heard in the same district court where the bankruptcy is being handled.
A firm that represents some of the plaintiffs has proposed that former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell oversee the allocation of available funds from the MMA bankruptcy to the victims’ families. MMA’s trustee characterized the proposal as a tactic by plaintiffs’ attorneys to keep the cases in Illinois with oversight by the former Maine senator.
Fortress Investment Group, a New York investment firm, purchased MMA’s assets for $15.85 million at a bankruptcy auction. However, the company’s creditors claims they are owed $40 million. Even that figure does not include the wrongful death claims, which are estimated to total approximately $50 million.
Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
351 West Hubbard Street, Ste 810
Chicago, IL 60654
Facebook: Like Us!
Google Places: Contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer from Briskman Briskman & Greenberg on Google Places!
- Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Police Officer’s Workers’ Comp Claim
The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed the decision of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission — and therefore, upheld an award of benefits to a community service officer who was injured when he fell down a flight of stairs at a police station. The appellate court agreed with the original decision that the officer’s employment put [...]
- Nearly $13 million award in birth injury lawsuit
A Michigan woman in a birth injury lawsuit has been awarded almost $13 million by a jury. The lawsuit alleged that Genesys Regional Medical Center made mistakes during the delivery of the woman’s daughter, disfiguring the girl and restricting her from the full use of her arm. The lawsuit stated that during the January 2008 [...]
- Medical Malpractice Case Settles for $17 Million
A suburban Chicago man has accepted a $17 million settlement in a brain injury medical malpractice case. Alexander Williams of Harvey, Illinois alleged that he suffered serious brain injuries after medical personnel at the University of Chicago Medical Center failed to diagnose an infection when Williams was treated there in 2003. Williams currently has trouble [...]
- USPS facility in Illinois cited for safety violations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor cited a U.S. Postal Service facility in Champaign, Illinois for eight safety violations. The administration proposed fines of $144,000. During a June 2013 complaint inspection, inspectors found a lack of fall protection and energy control procedures that exposed employees to increased risk of [...]
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit Likely After Park Forest Officer Charged in Death of 95-Year-Old
Cook County prosecutors have charged a Park Forest police officer with felony reckless conduct after the death of a 95-year-old resident of a senior citizen home. The charges were filed against Officer Craig Taylor. Taylor shot five beanbag rounds at the elderly man with a shotgun after the man allegedly wielded a knife. The senior [...]
The Chicago Injury Alert Podcast
- US Post Office Cited for Safety Violations and The 3 Most Common Birth Injury Causes – Podcast
US Post Office branches in Illinois have been cited for safety violations. Plus we talk about the 3 most common birth injury causes on this month’s Chicago Injury Alert. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg351 West Hubbard Street #810 Chicago, IL, 60654 USA email@example.com • (312) 222-0010
- The NSC’s Concerns About Consumer Electronics in Cars Plus Texting and Driving Still a Problem in Chicago – Podcast
National Safety Council is concerned about consumer electronics in cars and a report shows texting and driving is still a big problem in Chicago and statewide on this month’s Chicago Injury Alert.
- GM Probes Ignition Switch Failure and Michigan Woman is Awarded Thirteen Million Dollars in Birth Injury Lawsuit – Podcast
General Motors launches an internal probe into the failure of ignition switches that has been tied to 13 fatalities and a Michigan woman in a birth injury lawsuit has been awarded almost $13 million by a jury in this month’s Chicago Injury Alert.
- Claims of Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuit Abuse Are False – Podcast
Claims of lawsuit abuse in Illinois are false. This and other topics discussed in this month’s Chicago Injury Alert.
- Esurance Tries to Stop Teen Texting and Chicago Bike Lanes Get National Recognition – Podcast
Esurance launches a program to stop teen texting and drive. Plus, Chicago’s bike lane network is getting national recognition.