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Union Pacific Railroad Sued for Negligence Over Fatal Train Crash


Over three dozen survivors and family members have filed a lawsuit against Union Pacific Railroad Co., accusing the Omaha-based company of negligence relating to a crash during a Texas parade that killed four veterans.

Union Pacific, which is headquartered in Omaha, is the subject of lawsuits filed on behalf of 42 people who were injured or lost loved ones in a 2012 parade in Midland, Texas that killed four veterans. A parade float carrying U.S. Military veterans was on the tracks when it was hit by a Union Pacific freight train.

The crash, say the plaintiffs, was caused by a defect in the track detection circuitry. Union Pacific allegedly knew about the defect ten months prior to the collision, yet did nothing to remedy it.

The track defect, according to the lawsuit, caused a delay in the crossing gate’s warning lights and bells. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the amount of time the warning bells and lights were set to go off was not adequate per a state agreement.

Trial was scheduled for January 26, 2015, but soon before this date, the victims reached a settlement with Union Pacific. The judge dismissed the one case that was remaining against the rail company, but the plaintiffs (three widows whose husbands died on the float) appealed. Union Pacific has less than a month left to respond to the appeal.

Union Pacific continued to deny fault, claiming that there was no negligence on their part that led to the fatal collision. Although evidence has proved that there was adequate warning (20.4 seconds, 0.4 seconds more than the federal minimum for train crossings), the plaintiffs allege the warning doesn’t meet the 30-second requirement it was originally designed to fulfill.

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