Representative Cases for Rail, Bus and Other Transportation Litigation
LCBF handles a wide variety of transportation claims for clients across the country. Since the firm was founded, national, shortline and commuter railroads have engaged us to defend them in state and federal court jurisdictions throughout the United States. They recognize LCBF as resourceful advocates for their organizations, and rely on us not just for our trial and appellate expertise, but also our judgment and experience in dealing with federal and state regulators.
The thousands of cases we have undertaken include:
- Federal Employers' Liability Act (single trauma and occupational exposures)
- passenger injuries
- crossing accidents
- trespasser claims
- contractors' claims.
As national counsel for one of our railroad clients, we oversee and also individually defend cases alleging occupational exposures to asbestos, silica, diesel fuel and exhaust, benzene, noise, mold, second-hand smoke, and other chemical and toxic substances, as well as to cumulative trauma/repetitive stress.
Other matters we handle for our railroad transportation clients cover:
- employment discrimination
- commercial litigation
- contract and indemnity disputes
- property damage
- civil rights
- constitutional claims alleging First and Fourth Amendment violations
- regulatory compliance
- passenger and employee claims under the ADA.
We also regularly defend bodily injury and property damage claims on behalf of commercial and school busing companies, commercial trucking companies and national and international companies with their own trucking fleets.
In addition, we have successfully defended bus companies against claims of physical, verbal and sexual abuse and assaults, including sensitive claims brought on behalf of children and disabled persons.
Partnering with our clients, we have developed deep understandings of their particular industries and practices. We provide our clients with individually tailored advice to limit future limitation risks.
Welsh v. Amtrak (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas) (affirming summary judgment dismissing two FELA claims alleging injuries to shoulder, requiring arthroscopy, and back/neck, requiring a cervical decompression and fusion)
In Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, On May 12, 2015 (firm negotiated a $265 million global resolution on behalf of Amtrak with the Plaintiffs’ Management Committee in MDL arising from derailment, which generated over 120 lawsuits on behalf of more than 150 passengers who suffered injuries and the families of passengers who died in the accident; on October 27, 2016, U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis approved the settlement program
Hopkins v. Amtrak, 08-CV-2965 (NGG) (RML) (E.D.N.Y.) (on the eve of trial in federal court in Brooklyn, following 8 years of hard fought litigation and adverse court rulings on motions in limine, a grievously injured plaintiff voluntarily dismissed with prejudice and no payment his claims against Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)
National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. John Davis Trucking Company (D.Nev.) (four-week jury trial in Reno, Nevada resulting in recovery of almost $5 million for Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad for damages to equipment and for expenses arising from a 2011 crossing collision in Lovelock, Nevada, which resulted in six fatalities and several serious personal injuries; trucking company found 100% at fault)
Wallace v. Nat'l R.R. Pass. Corp., 2014 WL 1088906 (S.D.N.Y. March 18, 2014) (ruling that Amtrak was entitled to a declaration, prior to trial of the underlying personal injury claims, that its contractor, Weeks Marine, was contractually obligated both to pay Amtrak's defense costs and fees and to indemnify Amtrak against the personal injury claims of Weeks’ employee against Amtrak)
Arriaga-Hernandez v. MTA (New York County Supreme Court) (granting motion to compel the production of the plaintiff's cell phone records despite the fact that there was no evidence that claimant was on his phone at the time he was struck by defendant’s train and plaintiff had denied during his PALH that he used his cell phone while at the station)
Vega-Santana v Amtrak, (S.D.N.Y.) (dismissing personal injury claim by an author, who contended that she fell on an escalator and suffered a fractured distal radius and traumatically induced arthritis that prevented her from writing)
Sadek v. Greyhound, No. 108589/07 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2011) (As a result of a successful Frye hearing during trial, precluded plaintiff from proceeding to the jury with respect to claims he suffered a stroke as a result of bus accident; subsequently, plaintiff, who had demanded $10 million to settle case, dismissed his orthopedic claims, including claim that he required back surgery, to pursue appeal)
Pinsky v. Amtrak, No. 3-0050-10-032 (Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia, PA 2011) (granting summary judgment dismissing claims by railroad’s former medical director who asserted claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress under the FELA arising from allegations of workplace harassment and a verbal altercation that culminated in the termination of the plaintiff)
Stowe v. Amtrak, 2011 WL 2516939 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) (denying plaintiff’s post-trial motions following a defense verdict from a jury in an FELA case tried in Brooklyn, where plaintiff claimed multiple injuries to her neck, back, chest and left shoulder, requiring surgery, as well as PTSD and depression)
Vogel v. Laidlaw, No. BER-L-9126-06 (N.J. Super. Ct. Bergen Co. 2010) (defense verdict for a student transportation company and two of its employees where plaintiff, a severely autistic minor, was allegedly physically and verbally abused by bus driver and bus aide, resulting in severe PTSD and worsening of his autism)
Lennon v. Metro-North Commuter Railroad, No. 102753/05 (Sup. Ct. N. Y. Co. 2010) (jury returned a net verdict of $226,000, where plaintiff had demanded $2 million for FELA suit that, while walking between cars of a moving train, her arm became trapped in a door, causing reflex sympathetic dystrophy that prevented her from returning to work and required implantation of a spinal cord stimulator and opiates for pain alleviation)
Hepburn v. LIRR, No. 04-cv-4194 (E.D.N.Y. 2008) (defense verdict for the railroad client in a FELA suit where a former conductor alleged head, neck and throat cancer from second-hand tobacco smoke exposure ("ETS") while he was a conductor on "smoking trains")
Scotto v. Amtrak, No. 05-cv-4757 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (jury verdict of only $370,000 where defendant did not contest liability in train derailment causing significant cervical and lumbar herniations and plaintiff demanded $12 million in closing)
Schuman v. Amtrak, No. 06-cv-14290 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (jury verdict of only $673,000 where passenger involved in a train collision suffered severe back injuries, including multiple herniations that required surgery, originally sought $15 million in economic damages, and maintained a $5 million demand at trial)
Feld v. Amtrak, No. 2:07-cv-2813 (E.D.Pa. 2008) (jury awarded plaintiff $65,000 in admitted liability derailment case, where plaintiff conductor, seated in the locomotive when it struck an unmanned piece of railroad equipment at approximately 35 mph, suffered lumbar injuries, resulting in bilateral L3, L4, L5 and S1 radiofrequency ablation (rhizotomy) of the medial branch, claimed approximately $1 million in wage losses, and demanded $1.8 million before trial)
American Home Assurance Co. v. Hapag Lloyd Container Line, 446 F.3d 313 (2d Cir. 2006) (rail carrier was employed by primary carrier and thus entitled to limitation of liability protections of Himalaya Clause)
Hoyte v. Amtrak, 2006 WL 2053383 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (jury verdict of only $24,000 where defendant did not contest liability in a train collision and plaintiff, a computer programmer earning over $100,000 per year prior to the accident, contended that he could not return to work due to multiple disc herniations and traumatic brain injury and asked the jury for several million dollars)
Drobny v. Amtrak, No. 01-cv-338 (JWB) (D.N.J. 2004) (jury split liability 50/50 and awarded signalman, alleging RSD with ulnar release surgery as the result of a double crush injury to his wrist and elbow in a work-related incident, only $2,500 gross/$1,250 net, despite his economist having boarded $1 million)
Diaz v. Amtrak, No. 002802/01 (Ct. of Common Pleas Philadelphia, PA 2003) (defense verdict in FELA suit, where plaintiff had demanded $750,000 for injuries sustained while lifting a 16-foot timber, with allegedly improper equipment and insufficient manpower, requiring lumbar decompression and bilateral spinal fusion)
Jacob v. Amtrak, No. 99-cv-5457 (WGB) (D.N.J. 2002) (defense verdict; jury found that, despite defendant’s concession of liability, its negligence was not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s herniated discs in his lumbar spine, where plaintiff had demanded $1 million before trial and his economist boarded over $1 million)
In Ward v. CSX Transportation, Inc., which was brought in Supreme Court, Bronx County, LCBF successfully moved for summary judgment dismissing all of the claims asserted against Union Pacific. Plaintiff contended that, while unloading a railroad boxcar, he was crushed by cascading boxes of produce and suffered several herniated discs requiring a spinal fusion. Union Pacific allegedly provided a defectively equipped boxcar, which allowed the freight to collapse, and improperly loaded and inspected the boxcar. LCBF established that the boxcar was not defective, and the railroad was not responsible for loading or inspecting the loaded boxcar. Ron Joseph led the LCBF team
The claims of a worker who allegedly suffered serious injuries while working in a rail yard were dismissed by the Supreme Court, Queens County in Ferrara v. NY & Atlantic Railway Co. et ano. The suit, arising from a 1998 accident, was filed in 1999. Plaintiff was allegedly injured by a railroad tie he contended was dropped on him by a backhoe. The case was twice marked off the calendar by the Court. The first time, it was reinstated by the Appellate Division. In awarding our client summary judgment and denying plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint, the trial court found Labor Law sections 240(1) and 241(6) inapplicable on the grounds that the accident arose from routine maintenance and that amendment of the pleadings would cause prejudice. The court also dismissed plaintiff’s common law negligence claims, holding that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor could not overcome the lack of any eyewitness or other evidence of defendant’s negligence. Ron Joseph headed the LCBF team
In Stowe v. National Railroad Corp., 2012 WL 4360436 (2d Cir. 2012), affirming 793 F. Supp. 2d 549 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), the Second Circuit rejected all of the plaintiff's arguments on appeal and upheld a zero damages verdict after LCBF's client had conceded negligence. Among other things, the plaintiff had argued that the Supreme Court's Decision in CSX Transp. Inc. v. McBride, 131 S. Ct. 2630 (2011) required a new trial because the FELA jury charge on causation omitted the phrase "no matter how small. "The plaintiff asserted this phrase was mandatory after McBride because the charge approved in McBride had contained that language. Agreeing with the LCBF position on appeal, the Second Circuit ruled that because the jury charge given by the trial court tracked the language of the statute, the charge was not erroneous. The LCBF team was headed by Gerry Ford and Mark Landman