Christine Cella, the widow of the Amtrak train conductor that was killed when his train collided with a parked CSX freight train on Sunday, has filed a lawsuit against both railroads. She is claiming the railroads’ negligence lead to her husband’s death.
Mrs. Cella alleges her husband, Michael Cella, was “forced to endure the horrendous fear of his pending demise as the Amtrak Train approached the deadly collision point thereby giving rise to great conscious pain and suffering in the moments prior to collision and subsequently suffered a wrongful death as a result of his fatal wound suffered in the alleged incident.”
The lawsuit claims CSX and Amtrak are both at fault for failing to discover or notify crew members that the signal and switch had been disabled. Specifically, the suit claims CSX “deliberately disabled and/or suspended the trackside signals along its S-line in the area where the Amtrak train was traveling immediately prior to the alleged incident, thereby causing a portion of the S-line to be converted to dark territory. The operating crew of the Amtrak Train was without the benefit of any trackside signals or positive train control (PTC), a system that if implemented could have likely prevented the two trains in this case from colliding.” CSX is also being blamed for failures in training and procedures. There are total 9 instances of negligence against Amtrak and 28 instances of negligence against CSX listed in the lawsuit.
Howard Spier, the attorney representing Mrs. Cella said “This lawsuit comes at a time when the railroad industry faces a national crisis of confidence in its ability to keep passengers and crews safe. Promoting and strengthening a culture of safety are critical in any discussion of America’s infrastructure.”
This is the second lawsuit that has been filed following the deadly accident. Earlier this week a passenger that was on the Amtrak train filed a lawsuit against CSX for gross negligence and reckless disregard of safety standards.