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Amtrak Agrees to Court Consolidation of All Derailment Lawsuits in Philadelphia

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Amtrak officials have joined with the passengers who are suing them in asking that all lawsuits arising from the May derailment be consolidated in federal court in Philadelphia.

There is sure to be plenty of disagreement in the courtroom, but for now the rail operator agrees with several plaintiffs who have asked the Judicial Panel on Multi-Jurisdictional Litigation to put all the derailment cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeing as they all involve the same "nucleus of fact" and all seek damages for personal injuries or wrongful deaths.

More than 20 lawsuits have been filed, but that number is expected to rise.

"We believe that it is important to have a consolidation so that there will be coordination, supervision, organization of the litigation, given the fact that there are so many claimants in one case," says attorney Tom Kline, who represents several plaintiffs.

The panel could rule as early as this month.


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