More Than Half of Plaintiffs in 2012 Train Accident Lawsuit Reach Settlements

More Than Half of Plaintiffs in 2012 Train Accident Lawsuit Reach Settlements

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - 26 of the 43 plaintiffs in this case have reached a settlement before the trial. Just how much, remains confidential.

"We represent Daylyn Michael, her family. She's the widow of Josh Michael. Richard Sanchez, who was rendered partially paraplegic in the wreck, he and his family and Meg Ladner who lost her leg in the wreck and her family, and of course many others. You don't get a case like this settled without a long, hard fight. We knew that going into it," Lawyer, Kevin Glasheen, said.

It was November 15, 2012. a parade float carrying wounded veterans was crossing the intersection of Garfield near Front Street when a Union Pacific train made impact. Four were killed and 16 were injured as a result.

After more than two years, 26 family members affected by the accident have reached a settlement.

"This was a fiercely fought battle. There was a lot of litigation. many, many depositions. many, many expert witnesses. So, it was a thoroughly litigated case," Glasheen said.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that Show of Support and the City of Midland were the responsible parties in this case but families thought differently. They claim there was a defect in the Union Pacific's signal system causing a delay to lower the railroad crossing gates.

"It was a long fight and I know there was a lot of responsibility all around in this matter with the city, with Show of Support, the parade organizers, with the truck driver and the railroad. We always contended that the railroad was primarily responsible for the wreck," Glasheen said.

Glasheen says the court requires they go through a mediation, where the plaintiffs met with railroad representatives to resolve the claim. 26 walked out the door with a heavy weight off their shoulders.

"All of our clients are very pleased with the settlement and they're really happy to have the case done, settled, complete, so they can move on and try to rebuild their lives," Glasheen said.

In a statement, Union Pacific says they they have "...reached a settlement with some of the plaintiffs that brought this case. The parties have agreed that the terms of the settlement will be confidential."

The plaintiffs have also completed settlements with the truck driver, Show of Support, the organizers for the parade and Smith Industries, the owner of the parade float.

The City of Midland says they cannot comment on this case due to pending litigation. The other 17 plaintiffs are scheduled to begin trial in Midland on Monday, January 26.