» 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+ Contact a Chicago personal injury attorney from Briskman Briskman & Greenberg on Google+.

  • Personal Injury Claim Cites FitBit Data
    Wearable devices that track the movements of users to help them with personal fitness goals can also produce evidence that can be used in personal injury lawsuits. The first known case to use data from the popular FitBit device is now underway. The plaintiff in the personal injury claim was injured four years ago, before ...
  • What You May Not Know About Drowsy Driving
    When comedian Tracy Morgan was hit and severely injured by a fatigued truck driver, drowsy driving issues were pressed into a spotlight. Driver fatigue usually does not receive as much attention as drunk driving, but it can be just as dangerous. Here is what you need to know. It is more prevalent than you may ...
  • Birth injury lawsuit filed for forty million USD
    The family of a boy with cerebral palsy have filed a $40 million birth injury lawsuit, claiming that their son’s disorder was caused by medical malpractice. The parents of Maverick Ramseyer, now age six, filed the suit against Silverton Hospital in Oregon. The boy’s movements and coordination are hindered by the neurological disorder. He needs ...
  • Appeals court affirms 20.6 million USD award in birth injury lawsuit
    An appeals court upheld an award of $20.6 million to the family of a boy who now suffers from cerebral palsy due to a birth injury. The family had been awarded $21 million by a jury in Baltimore City Circuit Court, but that was reduced to $20.6 million because of Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages. ...
  • Illinois construction engineer, pinned under crane, suffers severe injuries
    A construction engineer was severely injured working in Elgin, Illinois on a bridge over the Fox River. A component fell from a crane and injured Rudolf Das on Monday, December 1, 2014 underneath the Interstate 90 bridge at Duncan Avenue. Das is a 51-year-old employee of K&S Engineers from Naperville, Illinois. According to his wife, ...

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