Heather Yakin of the Times Herald reported that Robert Vilensky, lawyer for the NYC cop who was injured in the Metro North train derailment victim has filed a suit on behalf of his client for $10 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit has been filed in Supreme Court in the Bronx naming the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North Railroad, New York City and engineer William Rockefeller as defendants. The claim is based on the Federal Railroad Administration’s report, Operation Deep Dive, which found that Metro-North was placing punctuality ahead of safety and maintenance.
According to Yakin, Robert Vilensky of the law firm of Ronemus & Vilensky, New York City, outlines a litany of negligence and wrongdoing on the part of the MTA and Metro-North in in the complaint he filed. This includes failure on the part of the agency to ensure Rockefeller, the engineer, had adequate sleep, and that he was able to operate the train on the early morning trip which he had never done before. The Vilensky also charges that the MTA and Metro-North failed to implement positive train control devices, to install signs or lights to warn of the upcoming sharp curve, to install a system to warn engineers the train was traveling at excessive speed, failing to change the track design after the earlier incident, failure to certify engineers and failing to replace rails and tracks at the location.
Yakin quotes attorney Vilensky as saying, “One has to question whether the culture at Metro-North which led to the deaths of four people, should be investigated for criminal actions,” Vilensky said. “Despite the four deaths and seventy people injured Metro-North and the MTA has not set up any claims process to settle the inevitable lawsuits. Instead, every claimant will have to file a lawsuit like this one, costing the MTA and Metro-North additional expenses at taxpayer dollars.”