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Attorneys: Passengers have right to sue Amtrak, BNSF over Missouri crash

Amtrak southwest chief derail mendon missouri 2
Posted at 11:49 AM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 12:49:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Legal wrangling in connection to June’s deadly Amtrak crash in Mendon, Missouri, continued in November.

Earlier this fall, attorneys representing BNSF and Amtrak filed a counter suit against several passengers who were on board the Southwest Chief at the time it collided with a dump truck sitting on the tracks at a railroad crossing in north central Missouri.

READ | Full Amtrak derailment coverage

Previously, the passengers had filed suit against Amtrak and BNSF, but in September, Amtrak said the passengers gave up their right to sue as part of the terms and conditions of purchasing their ticket.

In a court filing this week, attorneys representing the passengers asked a federal judge to dismiss the counter suit from Amtrak, saying that because Amtrak is a federal agency, the passengers have a constitutional right to access the legal system.

“As a government agency, [Amtrak] cannot require constitutional rights be waived in order to travel by rail,” a group of attorneys wrote in the filing. “Any attempt to avoid courts or jury trials through arbitration is unconstitutional.”

The lawsuit is one of several cases working its way through both state and federal courts. As those cases continue, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board continue to piece together the details that led up to June 27, 2022 crash.

Three people on board the train were killed in the crash and derailment. The driver of the dump truck that was on the tracks also died in the collision.