As a governmental agency, lawyers noted, Metrolink cannot be subjected to punitive damages in any civil action – a situation those lawyers said likely protects it from a bankruptcy situation. A spokesman for Metrolink said the agency would not be making any comments on potential legal issues.
Attorney Jerome Ringler, who served as lead counsel for victims of a Metrolink train derailment in Placentia in 2002, those in a Burbank derailment in 2003, and in the Glendale derailment in 2005, said the Chatsworth crash could expose further fault with Metrolink.
“I suspect the real reason these tragedies occurred is due to either simple inattentivenesss on the part of the engineers or a failure on the part of the railrood industry to allow these engineers adequate rest between shifts so that these kind of tragedies could be avoided,” Ringler said.
“This is a horrible tragedy. They are facing hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars of exposure.”
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