In December, 2013, a commuter train on the Hudson Line was involved in a derailment near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The train, operated by Metro-North Railroad, a subsidiary of the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), left the tracks while rounding a curve. Of the 115 passengers aboard the train, 4 were killed and another 61 received injuries.
Our client, Eddie Russell, was one of the injured passengers. Mr. Russell suffered bulged discs at L2-3 and L4-5 in his spine, resulting in significant pain. Mr. Russell required 18 months of physical therapy to overcome the back injuries he received. Mr. Russell also developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a direct result of the incident. After suffering with sleep disruptions and depression, he sought help for this condition, spending three years in counseling.
Mr. Russell filed suit against Metro-North and MTA, alleging that William Rockefeller, the conductor on duty at the time of the derailment, was operating the train negligently. The plaintiff asserted that the train was traveling at 82mph in a posted 30mph zone at the time of the crash. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff also alleged that the conductor, who was diagnosed with sleep apnea, was sleeping at the time of the derailment. The lawsuit also claimed that the railroad was negligent in its responsibilities for failing to implement safety policies that required evaluation of conductors known to have sleep apnea. After obtaining testimony from numerous experts, including an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, and a neuropsychologist, the lawsuit went to mediation, where the parties settled for $450,000. Mr. Russell did not claim medical expenses in the lawsuit. Robert Vilensky represented the plaintiff.