RPWB attorneys Terry Richardson and Dave Butler represent passengers injured in the Feb. 4, 2018 Amtrak train wreck in Cayce, South Carolina that sadly killed two railroad employees and injured more than 100 passengers. If you or a loved one was injured in the crash, please contact us immediately to learn about your rights and the potential for compensation.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 4, the passenger train was travelling nearly 50 mph when it suddenly veered from the main line and slammed into a parked CSX freight train, killing the two conductors and injuring more than 100 passengers. Many of those on board were rousted from their sleep in most violent fashion. Initial comments made by NTSB investigators indicate the cause of the wreck was an improperly aligned switch. Warning signals were apparently out of commission at the time due to a long overdue conversion to positive train control safety measures.
Despite a 2008 legal mandate to implement positive train control measures, or the ability to monitor and control trains and tracks remotely, less than 50 percent of our nation’s railways have made the conversion. The current deadline at the end of this year likely will be extended to 2020.
A recent search of the Federal Railroad Administration’s accident database indicates that improperly aligned switches remain a leading cause of train crashes. Between January 2012 and November 2017, there were 2,038 incidents reported in which a switch was improperly aligned.
The February train crash in Cayce demonstrates the real human toll of these preventable errors that occur all too frequently throughout the United States. It caused the most damage of the past 150 South Carolina rail incidents since 2008 combined, according to the NTSB preliminary report released on February 28, 2018.. We hope that it serves as a wake-up call that the railroad industry needs to move faster and more thoughtfully on implementing this technology.
It was also a switching error that led to South Carolina’s largest train disaster. In January 2005, a freight train carrying hazardous materials was diverted off the mainline and struck a parked train in Graniteville. The wreck and explosion killed nine people, injured more than 250 people and destroyed a significant part of Avondale Mills. Chlorine gas released during the crash forced 5,400 people from their homes. Terry Richardson served as co-lead counsel of the consolidated litigation, and was assisted by Dave Butler.
It saddens us how little has changed since Graniteville. We urge railroad companies and the federal government to speed up efforts to improve railroad safety. In the meantime, we will continue to do our part by holding railroad companies accountable in court.
RPWB attorneys can also help railroad employees injured in work-related accidents or suffering from occupational diseases. We can file suit against employers or other railroad employees under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). These are not workers’ compensation actions. And, unlike workers’ compensation actions, in a FELA action, if negligence is proven, workers can receive much higher amounts. RPWB attorneys have represented railroad workers in such cases with significant success.
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Dec 03, 2018
Parties agree to settle SC nuclear plant class action
SCANA and SCE&G settle class action lawsuit with Attorney General and Plaintiffs Related to V.C. Summer Nuclear Costs Plaintiffs Richard Lightsey, LeBrian Cleckley, and Phillip Cooper have reached an agreement with SCANA Corporation and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company to settle a lawsuit filed in the state Court of Common Pleas in Hampton County on […]READ MORE
Nov 02, 2018
RPWB is a 2019 U.S. News Best Law Firm
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman was named a 2019 Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report, recognizing the plaintiff firm for its work on mass torts and class actions, product liability, securities, healthcare law, medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits. With 16 lawyers listed on the underlying Best Lawyers in […]READ MORE
Oct 24, 2018
The Role of the Whistleblower: A look at qui tam litigation
By Chuck Dukes Qui tam litigation allows private citizens, like you, to join in the battle against government fraud. Every year, many of our public institutions—from the military to Medicare—are plagued by fraud. Astonishingly, it’s estimated that nearly 10% of all federal spending, or $350–$400B per year, is lost due to fraud. And by and […]READ MORE
Sep 18, 2018
Families of two smokers hooked by free samples awarded $113 million
The families of a pair of deceased smokers from the United States Virgin Islands were awarded $113 million by two juries last month. In a consolidated trial, the juries found that the maker of Newport cigarettes (previously Lorillard, now R.J. Reynolds) engaged in a program to hook young people, including children, on cigarettes. The program […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
16 RPWB attorneys named to Best Lawyers List
CHARLESTON – Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman was again recognized as South Carolina’s top-listed plaintiff law firm for product liability cases and mass tort/class actions by The Best Lawyers in America® in their 2019 edition released in August 2018. In all, 16 RPWB attorneys were named 2019 Best Lawyers, including four new additions to the […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
Richardson on mass torts win: “Unrelenting pressure is essential.”
RPWB founding attorney Terry Richardson has worked on many mass tort cases throughout his four decades practicing law, but the 2005 Graniteville train crash stands out due to its size, scope and complexity. His experience with the case recently featured by the website drugwatcher.org in the article “11 of America’s Top Trial Lawyers Share Their […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
RPWB accepting DePuy Elbow Implant cases
RPWB attorneys are representing patients who had to replace their faulty DePuy Synthes elbow implant, a defective medical device that was pulled from the market years ago yet it still causing problems. In late 2016, the DePuy Synthes elbow implant was recalled after people who received the devices reported problems with radial stem loosening at […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
First three Abilify gambling cases settle
In April, the makers of Abilify settled the first three bellwether cases that were scheduled to go to trial this past June. Judge M. Casey Rodgers also ordered both sides to begin work on the framework for a global settlement for the nearly 2,000 other Abilify cases pending in the Northern District of Florida. The […]READ MORE
Aug 14, 2018
Wells Fargo Under Fire For 401(k) Rollover Practices
RPWB attorneys are investigating claims that Wells Fargo may have advised people rolling over their 401(k) retirement plans to invest in alternative investments in order to earn higher fees and commissions. These 401(k) rollovers have caught the attention of federal regulators with the Department of Justice, Department of Labor and the Securities Exchange Commission, who […]READ MORE
Apr 29, 2015
Richardson again named ‘Top 10 lawyer’ in SC
BARNWELL, SC – Founding RPWB member Terry E. Richardson, Jr. has been named one of South Carolina’s Top 10 attorneys by the national ranking service Super Lawyers for the second year in a row. The annual list highlights attorneys who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer […]READ MORE
Aug 16, 2016
Nine RPWB attorneys named Best Lawyers in America
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC – Nine RPWB attorneys were named 2017 Best Lawyers in America® for their respective practice areas, including two new additions in the past year. Based on the number of attorneys honored, RPWB was named the top-listed plaintiff product liability litigation firm in South Carolina. The two lawyers recognized for the first time […]READ MORE
Aug 11, 2016
Berkeley County, SC property owners to receive fee refund
CHARLESTON, SC – Thousands of Berkeley County property owners will receive refunds of transportation impact fees that were paid to the county, but not spent on infrastructure improvements. Ninth Circuit Judge R. Markley Dennis, Jr. finalized the class action settlement agreement on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. It applies to approximately 4,000 Berkeley County property owners […]READ MORE
Apr 22, 2016
Beth Burke wins USC law school alumni award
Elizabeth Middleton Burke was awarded the Gold Compleat Lawyer Award by the University of South Carolina Law School Alumni Council on April 21, 2016. The award is the most prestigious given by the law school. It recognizes alumni for their outstanding civic and professional accomplishments. Burke, a 1997 graduate of the law school, is an […]READ MORE
May 08, 2015
Charles Patrick voted ‘Lawyer of the Year’
CHARLESTON, SC – RPWB attorney Charles W. Patrick, Jr. has been named a “Lawyer of the Year” for the Charleston market in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers of America©. The designation, this time for plaintiff product liability litigation, marks the fourth time Patrick has been named as lawyer of the year. He was selected for […]READ MORE
Jan 06, 2015
Graniteville train derailment: 10 years later
In the early morning hours of January 6, 2005, two Norfolk Southern trains collided in Graniteville, South Carolina, setting off a chain of events that would lead to the deaths of nine people and injuries to at least 250 others. A tanker car ruptured, spewing about 60 tons of chlorine gas into the air. Approximately […]READ MORE