Amtrak sues for $2.5 million in damage to train after collision with tractor-trailer

Michelle Keahey Jun. 30, 2011, 11:00am


Following an April collision with a tractor-trailer in Slidell, Amtrak has filed a lawsuit that claims the tractor-trailer driver was negligent and is responsible for more than $2.5 million in damages to its train.

National Railroad Passenger Corp. d/b/a Amtrak files suit against Textron Inc. d/b/a Textron Marine and Land Systems, Randall E. Bray and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. on June 24 in federal court in New Orleans.

The collision occurred on April 20, 2011, as Amtrak Train No. 20 was traveling northbound toward the railroad crossing located at Cleveland Avenue in Slidell. Although the train sounded the horn as it approached the crossing, defendant Randall E. Bray drove a 2008 Kenworth tractor-trailer onto the tracks in front of the approaching train, without making any attempt to stop or slow down, the lawsuit claims.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to heed the warnings of the cross-buck sign and stop sign, the train's horn, bell and headlights, failing to keep a reasonable lookout for approaching trains, driving onto the railroad tracks without stopping, operating his vehicle at an unsafe speed and for failing to yield that right of way to the oncoming train.

Further, the defendants are accused of failing to exercise reasonable care for the safety of Amtrak, failing to implement training to insure that its employees heed the warnings of the cross-buck sign and stop sign and failing to implement training to ensure that its employees keep a reasonable and proper lookout for approaching trains.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $2.5 million in damages for the damage to its locomotive and train, loss of use, lost profits, medical expenses, consequential or incidental damages, court costs and interest.

Amtrak is represented by Timothy F. Daniels, Dow Michael Edwards and John D. Garrett of Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-01507

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