BNSF sues deadly Amtrak crash victims, says they checked boxes in order to buy tickets
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - BNSF Railway filed a lawsuit this week against victims and surviving family members of the summer’s deadly Amtrak train derailment in Mendon, MO, saying Terms And Conditions of buying the ticket included language barring them from suing the railroad.
Victims and surviving family members of the June 27 crash that killed four people and injured 150 others have been suing BNSF over the incident in recent months, since the railway owns and operates the tracks that particular Amtrak train used to travel the trip between Los Angeles and Chicago. National Transportation Safety Board investigators had determined that the crossing where the crash occurred did not have safety mechanisms in place---including crossing arms, bells or lights. The train derailed after colliding with a dump truck at the crossing.
The lawsuits filed by the victims and surviving family members claim BNSF had been previously warned about safety issues on such crossings.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday in Missouri, BNSF claims victims and their families cannot seek financial compensation through the courts, because passengers on the train all had to check boxes on lengthy Terms And Conditions in order to buy a ticket. Those check-boxes included language stating that any disputes passengers may have with the railroad must be arbitrated directly with the company and not through the court system, the lawsuit claims.
The crash site is less than two hours northeast of the Kansas City area, and a Kansas City attorney---Sean Hamer of Scharnhorst Ast Kennard Griffin PC law firm---is representing BNSF in the lawsuit. Another Kansas City attorney---Grant Davis of Davis, Bethune & Jones---is representing dozens of plaintiffs who are suing the railroad. Many of the passengers in the crash were from the Kansas City area, and three of the people who died were local---Rochelle Cook, 58, of De Soto, KS, Kim Holsapple, 56, of De Soto, and Binh Pham, 82, of Kansas City, MO.
There is no next court date listed yet for the case.
This is a developing situation, and KCTV5 will be updating this story.
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