» Dispute Over Venue for Lac-Megantic Wrongful Death Claims Heats Up

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
Phone: 312.222.0010
Facebook: Like Us!
Google Places: Contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer from Briskman Briskman & Greenberg on Google Places!

  • A Swan Attack Leads to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and the NHTSA Investigates the 2014 Chevy Impala – Podcast
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Plus, a swan attack leads to a wrongful death lawsuit on this month’s Chicago Injury Alert. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg351 West Hubbard Street #810 Chicago, IL, 60654 USA contact@briskmanandbriskman.com • (312) 222-0010
  • Peoria Widow Wins Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
    The widow and children of a Chillicothe, Illinois man who died four years ago were recently awarded $1.6 million by a Peoria County jury. The award came after a three-week medical malpractice trial and 10 hours of jury deliberation over three days. Eventually, the jury found one doctor and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center liable [...]
  • Illinois Circuit Court Dismisses Malaysia Airlines Petition on Point of Law
    A Cook County Circuit Court judge has dismissed two discovery petitions filed in her court over the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Rule 224 discovery petitions were filed prior to expected wrongful death lawsuits against Boeing and Malaysia Airlines. Boeing, based in Chicago, built the missing 777. A Chicago law firm filed the petition [...]
  • Cerebral Palsy Among Most Common Birth Injuries
    Cerebral palsy is one of the most common types of birth injuries, occurring about twice in every 1,000 births. The term “cerebral palsy” encompasses a number of conditions with varying symptoms. However, all types of cerebral palsy include a non-progressive impairment of motor functions that causes a physical disability. Although the main effects of the [...]
  • 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 [...]

The Chicago Injury Alert Podcast

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required