As rescue workers and investigators continue to sift through the catastrophic wreckage of 72 tanker cars that derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, questions continue to be asked concerning potential legal actions that may result from this derailment and explosion. In the wake of the terrible tragedy that has claimed the lives of up to 60 people, Clifford Law Offices has been asked what laws and what courts will be available to those who seek justice against this U.S. railway company.
“The tragedy occurred in Canada, but one of the companies involved, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc., is based in Maine with what has been reported as a parent company, Rail World Inc., which is based in the Chicago area,” said Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, which has handled many rail and transportation crash cases across the country. “All potential venues must be examined to determine the forum in which injured victims and those who lost their loved ones can seek justice for this horrific explosion that appears to have been avoidable.”
Canadian investigators, law enforcement officials and company executives are on the scene of the explosion, sifting through the rubble following the derailment. Edward Burkhardt, CEO of the Chicago-based Rail World Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, reportedly suspended without pay the engineer who was operating the train as a result of this catastrophe. At this time, it is unclear where his training took place. “Ultimately, the courts will decide what law applies,” Clifford said, “but it cannot be ignored that the best venue for a lawsuit may, in fact, be in America. We are looking into all of appropriate venues based upon some inquiry calls we have already received.”
Clifford Law Offices has extensive experience in rail crash litigation and explosion cases. The firm just received one of the highest verdicts in the U.S. in 2012 for a grain bin explosion case in downstate Illinois. The firm also has successfully worked on cases involving Amtrak, Metra and various train lines crisscrossing the continent. The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices are available to speak on this issue.