Family of Md. Man Killed in Train Derailment Sues Amtrak

The family of a Rockville, Maryland, man killed in a train derailment near Philadelphia is suing Amtrak for  negligence, recklessness and outrageous misconduct.

Abid Gilani was one of eight people killed as a result of the May 12 derailment of Amtrak Train 188.

Gilani's wife, Diane Gilani, cites Amtrak’s negligence, recklessness and outrageous misconduct as grounds for her suit. 

The lawsuit claims Amtrak knowingly failed to equip Train 188 with a Positive Train Control (PTC) system. The system warns the crew of a train when to slow down and stop, alerts them to speed limits and determines safe braking distances. If an engineer does not respond to these conditions, the PTC system responds automatically for him or her.

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, requiring all rail lines to install PTC systems no later than the end of 2015.

“Amtrak failed to use available and in-use safety technology for trains and passengers on the accident stretch of track, which would have prevented this horrific accident,” the suit claims.

Train 188 Engineer Brandon Bostian was estimated to be traveling over 100 mph when the train derailed at Frankford Junction. The suggested speed limit for that area is 50 mph, the suit says.

“When Mr. Bostian operated Train 188 out of Philadelphia, he reached excessive, careless, and reckless speeds, which resulted in Train 188 taking the sharp and dangerous curve at Frankford Junction at a speed in excess of twice the legal speed limit,” reads the complaint.

Diane Gilani claims in her suit that Amtrak put financial considerations over the safety and welfare of its passengers.

Amtrak previously admitted responsibility for the derailment.

The Gilani family says they will seek the full measure of damages recoverable. Abid Gilani was Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo’s Hospitality Finance Group. He left behind his wife and two children.

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