First Lawsuit Filed In Quebec Train Crash
The first US lawsuit in response to the train crash in Quebec on July 6 has been filed, by the guardian of a girl whose Canadian father died in the crash. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Illinois on July 22, names a number of railway and fuel services companies.
Early on July 6, a freight train derailed and sent 72 tankers of crude oil crashing into the village of Lac-Megantic in Quebec; the tankers exploded in a ball of fire and killed almost fifty people. Annick Roy is the guardian of Fanny Roy Veilleux, whose father Jean-Guy Veilleux, a Lac-Megantic resident, burned to death as a result of the train crash; Roy filed the lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois. The suit names railroad operator Montreal Maine an Atlantic Railway Inc, its parent company Rail World Inc, MMA Chairman Edward Burkhardt, and fuel services company World Fuel Services Corp. All stand accused of failing to keep the train’s oil tankers (known as DOT-111s) up to reasonable government safety standards, and thus, of negligence in the death of Veilleux.
“For more than 20 years, problems with DOT-111 tankers rupturing upon derailment have been well documented by government safety regulators and media outlets,” Roy said in the lawsuit. “The railroad and petroleum industries have long acknowledged the design flaws in the DOT-111, but have consistently ignored the (National Transportation Safety Board’s) calls to address the dangers associated with rupture of the tankers.” The tanker cars that ruptured in Lac-Megantic were the same type that ruptured in a 2009 derailment in Cherry Valley, Illinois, that resulted 324,000 gallons of ethanol spilling. The Lac-Megantic tankers lacked safety improvements recommended by the NTSB.
Also named in the lawsuit are Western Petroleum Company, Petroleum Transport Solutions, Dakota Plains Transloading LLC, Dakota Petroleum Transport Solutions, Dakota Plaints Marketing and DPTS Marketing. The first lawsuit filed, a week after the crash, was a joint motion by Canadian and U.S. lawyers; their class action lawsuit is on behalf of two Lac-Megantic residents, Guy Ouellet and Yannick Gagne—it was filed in Quebec Superior Court, seeking compensation from the accident. Defendants in this case include the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic and Burkhardt, among others.
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