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Amtrak agrees to consolidate lawsuits over derailment that killed 8

By Andrew V. Pestano
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Amtrak agrees to consolidate lawsuits over derailment that killed 8
The lawsuits against Amtrak for the derailment in May that killed eight people may be consolidated into one. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

PHILADELPHIA, July 2 (UPI) -- The lawsuits seeking damages against Amtrak for the May derailment that killed eight people may be consolidated into one in federal court in Philadelphia.

Amtrak and the families of victims who are suing made the request to the Judicial Panel on Multi-Jurisdictional Litigation.

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Several lawsuits claim negligence by Amtrak caused the derailment, with one lawsuit condemning the railway's "willful, wanton, and reckless disregard for the safety of its passengers."

The lawsuits could be brought forward as one to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania because they involve the same facts and all seek damages for personal injuries or wrongful deaths. The panel's decision could be made within the month.

"We believe that it is important to have a consolidation so that there will be coordination, supervision, organization of the litigation, given the fact that there are so many claimants in one case," attorney Tom Kline, who represents several plaintiffs, said, according to CBS Philly reporter Pat Loeb.

More than 20 lawsuits have been filed, and more are expected. Besides the eight deaths, more than 200 people were injured.

The May 12 accident brought close scrutiny to the National Railroad Passenger Corp.'s safety operations.

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Investigators have previously said the train, traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York, entered a curve near Philadelphia at 106 mph, well above the posted 50 mph speed limit.

Amy R. Connolly contributed to this report.

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