Posts Tagged ‘metrolink’

Attorney Jerome Ringler Gets Universal to Pay $12 Million in Metrolink Crash

September 22, 2008

Plaintiff was among 32 passengers injured in Burbank wreck blamed on a driver for the firm.
By Jean Guccione

Times Staff Write

A jury has ordered Universal Studios to pay $12 million to a woman who was seriously injured in a 2003 Metrolink crash in Burbank, finding that one of the company’s truck drivers caused the collision.
The verdict is the first against the entertainment giant since the same jury last month found the company liable for the crash that killed two people and injured 32 others.

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Metrolink Screwed-Up Before

September 19, 2008
Metrolink worker sued Burlington Northern Santa Fe, saying his alcoholism returned after the fatal 2002 Placentia collision.

A metrolink conductor who said his drinking problems resumed after the Placentia train crash in 2002 will receive $8.5 million to settle his lawsuit against one of the nations largest railroads.

Patrick Phillips of Riverside agreed Tuesday to settle his suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. The case was set to go to trial next week in Orange County Superior Court.
Phillips, now 52, suffered minor head injuries the morning of April 23, 2002 when a Burlington Northern Freight train crashed into a Metrolink commuter train in Placentia. Three people died and more than 260 were injured in the early morning crash.
Though his injuries were slight, the conductor alleged that the trauma was serious enough to trigger a resurgence of his severe alcoholism, which he said he had controlled since rehabilitation in the early 1990’s.
“I have never seen a case like this in 30 years, yet it is indeed what happened here,” said Jerome L. Ringler, Phillips’ attorney.
“We had extensive medical evaluations by a variety of neurological specialists. All were in accord that his injury, although minor, changed his behavior.”
After the train crash, Phillips was hospitalized for evaluation but released about two hours later, Ringler said. In the months after the crash, however, Phillips allegedly resumed his alcohol abuse, resulting in at least two other hospitalizations.
Ringler said his client was finally diagnosed with alcohol-related dementia, a sever mental deficiency.
Phillips, who is now disabled after working 12 years for Metrolink, was unavailable for comment. He is living with a sister in Riverside.
Under terms of the settlement, Phillips will receive $8.5 million, including interest, paid out over 20 years. The amount is worth about $4.5 million in today’s dollars.
Officials for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, one of the nations four largest railroads, confirmed the settlement but declined to discuss the case.
Phillips’ lawsuit is one of more than 100 Civil cases stemming from the Placentia crash, which federal investigators said was caused by an inattentive Burlington Norther crew that missed a warning signal.
The lawsuits allege the collision could have been prevented by an automatic braking system, long sought by the federal National Transportation Safety Board. They also contend that the freight train crew was fatigued by overwork and that the Burlington Northern conductor had a history of losing track of signals.
In December, an Orange County jury awarded Pamela Macek, 53, also of Riverside, about $9 million in damages for psychological and physical injuries suffered in the crash. Her case was the first to go to trial.

Jerome Ringler – Lead Counsel In Metrolink Train Crash

September 18, 2008

Chatsworth Train Disaster Lawyer Jerome Ringler

September 18, 2008

Special Message for Victims of Chatsworth Metrolink Disaster

On September 12, 2008, an unprecedented tragedy occurred in Chatsworth, California when Metrolink Train #111 struck a Union Pacific freight train which was traveling on the same tracks. Our hearts go out to the victims. But this tragedy should not have happened. It happened because of human error on the part of Metrolink employees. Unfortunately, as the lawyers of RKA know well, human error by railroad engineers is not at all unique as a cause of commuter rail disasters.

Jerome L. Ringler has greater experience in representing victims of commuter rail and freight train disasters than any other lawyer in the State of California, if not the country. He has served as lead counsel in every one of the largest commuter rail disasters which have occurred in Southern California in the past 10 years.

In the Placentia Commuter Rail Disaster of 2003, Mr. Ringler was appointed by the Court as lead counsel for all of the Plaintiffs. He was requested by all of the lawyers representing individuals injured or killed in that incident to try the first case. That case resulted in the largest verdict for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ever rendered by a jury in the United States. That verdict, which was for $9 million, is detailed below in the multimedia section.

In the Burbank Commuter Rail Disaster, which also occurred in 2003, Mr. Ringler was again appointed by the Court to serve as lead counsel. In that capacity he was given the responsibility to try the entire liability (i.e., fault) case for all of the victims. In other words, every one of the dozens of lawyers who represented individual victims in that disaster trusted Mr. Ringler to try the liability phase for them, knowing that their clients would only recover if Mr. Ringler was successful. He was. In fact, Mr. Ringler not only obtained a favorable verdict for all of the plaintiffs, he obtained a $12 million verdict for his own client as well. This verdict was the largest in the State of California for a person with the type of injuries Mr. Ringler’s client had suffered. This verdict is detailed below in the multimedia section.

Mr. Ringler is currently lead counsel for all plaintiffs in the Glendale Metrolink Derailment Disaster of 2005. This incident was, before September 12, 2008, the largest Metrolink disaster in history. Interestingly, in that case (which involves 11 deaths and dozens of serious injuries), Mr. Ringler has, against all odds, developed testimony proving that, even though a mentally-ill person placed a jeep across the tracks that the Metrolink train was traveling upon, human error on the part of the Metrolink engineer prevented him from stopping the train before hitting the jeep, which caused the train to derail. In other words, while the jeep certainly never should have been on the tracks, the Metrolink engineer would have been able to stop the train before ever striking the jeep had he only been paying proper attention. That case is scheduled to go to trial on June 8, 2009, with Mr. Ringler as lead counsel.

The verdicts detailed on this page all relate to railroad litigation. However, Mr. Ringler has achieved enormous, record-breaking monetary awards across California in a variety of complex areas. Those accomplishments are detailed elsewhere in this website. To see them, click here.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of the horrific Chatsworth Metrolink Disaster, we are available to discuss your rights with you confidentially and at no charge.

Please feel free to contact us at your convenience. Ask for Mr. Ringler,or any of his partners, at (213) 473-1900.