The Metro-North derailment of a speeding train in the Bronx that killed four passengers in December 2013 has become a costly legal headache for the railroad.
The Journal News reported Thursday that Metro-North had paid more than $28.2 million in settlements and legal costs to injured passengers and families of the deceased passengers.
The derailment, likely caused by a a conductor with undiagnosed sleep apnea who “nodded off” as the train bolted at 82 mph into a dangerous curve, was the deadliest in the railroad’s 33-year history. It was among five accidents in less than a year that led federal regulators to question the safety practices of Metro-North.
Another derailment in May 2013 cost the railroad paying over $10 million in legal, the Journal News reported based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Law.
The founder of a group that advocates for Metro-North called that number “huge.”
“I think it’s just another cost that has to be kept in mind when we look back at the history of the railroad and try to figure out what went wrong,” said Jim Cameron of Commuter Action Group.
The Journal News reported that the settlement costs are “likely to grow in the coming years” as 174 of 292 claims from the five accidents since May 2013 had been resolved.