TACOMA, Wash. - A judge has ruled that Amtrak is strictly liable for the claim of its engineer who sued for his injuries after a deadly 2017 derailment south of Tacoma, Washington.
"The judge will instruct the jury that the court has already ruled that Amtrak is 100 percent at fault, what we call strict liability here," Fred Bremseth, one of the engineer’s attorneys, told The News Tribune.
The derailment of Amtrak Cascades 501 on Dec. 18, 2017 onto Interstate 5 below killed three and injured dozens during the inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass route, a 10-minute faster route from Seattle to Portland.
The News Tribune reports that engineer Steven Brown’s lawsuit, filed last year in Pierce County Superior Court, alleged he wasn’t properly trained and that technology that could have stopped the train hadn’t been installed at the time. Brown "suffered physical and emotional injuries as a result of the derailment," according to his lawsuit.
He seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses and lost earning capacity, among other things.
Amtrak argued in its court filing that Brown’s negligence caused the derailment.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Karena Kirkendoll granted Brown’s motion for partial summary judgment in the case March 12, which asked her to find Amtrak "strictly liable," and to dismiss Amtrak’s "sole cause defense."