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Complaint alleges Amtrak safety failures led to death of worker in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. PRNewswire-USNewswire–  Joe Neal Carter, Jr., whose life revolved around family, faith, and a devotion to safety as a veteran Amtrak track-maintenance specialist, was killed by an Amtrak train traveling at 106 mph on Sunday morning, April 3, 2016 because of his employer’s rampant safety failures, according to a negligence complaint filed here today in the state Court of Common Pleas by attorneys for his estate.

Attorneys Tom Kline, Esq., of Kline & Specter, P.C., and Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Esq., of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., and their associates, announced the filing (Case No. 160503923) this morning on behalf of Montia Carter, Mr. Carter’s daughter and legal representative, and Brandon Carter, his son. They said the family continues to mourn  the loss of an extraordinary individual and exceptional, four-decade Amtrak employee who, along with Peter Adamovich, his supervisor and friend, was killed when Amtrak Train 89 violently struck and ignited the rail-maintenance backhoe operating – totally without their knowledge – on the same Northeast Corridor track near Chester, Pa.

According to the Complaint, Amtrak “failed to follow its own procedures, federal regulations, and industry standards for ensuring the safety of its employees on its tracks, including, but not limited to, diverting trains from tracks where work was being performed; notifying all personnel on trains the location of workers who were on tracks; ensuring that all necessary personnel were informed that workers were on the tracks; and ensuring train engineers were signaled of workers on the tracks.”

Mr. Kline stated, “Mr. Carter’s family honors his name and his co-workers – present and future – by bringing this complaint to obtain justice and in hopes of preventing another horrific tragedy due to a systematic breakdown of Amtrak’s adopted safety protocols and practices.”

Mr. Mongeluzzi added, “Now the civil litigation process begins, and we will seek answers to deeply disturbing questions including: “How could the operator of a scheduled train traveling at 106 mph not know of work being performed on the same tracks ahead? Why wasn’t Mr. Carter’s crew alerted of and protected from the approaching train? And why were Amtrak’s automatic technologies not in place to prevent this disaster?”

Ms. Carter, said of her father, “Stookie, as he was affectionately known to family, friends, and co-workers was a warm, larger-than-life figure whose greatest joy was helping others. A truly kind man, he was a loving father and uncle, a renowned cook at his Honeycomb Union AME church (Media) – mastering every dish from collards to orange-glazed lemon pound cake.  When he cooked, there were never leftovers.”

Mr. Carter was also an active member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division union.

The two firms that represent Mr. Carter’s family also represent victims in the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) resulting from the May 12, 2015 Amtrak Train 188 fatal derailment just outside Center City Philadelphia that claimed eight lives and more than 200 injuries. Combined they represent 32 victims – including two death claims – in that consolidated litigation.  Both Mr. Kline and Mr. Mongeluzzi serve on the Plaintiffs’ Management Committee in the Train 188 litigation.

Besides Mr. Mongeluzzi and Mr. Kline, the legal team for the plaintiff includes attorneys: Jeffrey P. Goodman (SMBB); Chip Becker, Kila B. Baldwin, and Patrick Fitzgerald (K&S).