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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Nov 01, 2019
RPWB is a 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firm
CHARLESTON, S.C. – U.S. News & World Report has named Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman as a 2020 Best Law Firm for the firm’s work in personal injury, mass torts and class actions, product liability, medical malpractice, securities litigation, healthcare law and railroad law. U.S. News’ announcement came on the heels of the 2020 Best […]READ MORE
Oct 25, 2019
Asbestos Find Causes Retailers to Pull Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder
Major retailers including Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid have pulled 22-ounce bottles of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder after the FDA found traces of asbestos in a recently-tested bottle. The presence of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder prompted Johnson & Johnson to initiate a voluntary recall on approximately 33,000 bottles of the talcum […]READ MORE
Aug 29, 2019
Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Lewis to Join RPWB
COLUMBIA — Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC is honored to announce that William Camden (Will) Lewis will be joining our law firm. He is presently employed at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina in Columbia, where he has worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for more than 3 years. After […]READ MORE
Aug 15, 2019
16 RPWB Lawyers Selected For Best Lawyers List
CHARLESTON – RPWB was once again the top-listed plaintiff law firm in South Carolina for product liability cases as well as mass tort and class action lawsuits in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, which was released in August 2019. In total, 16 RPWB attorneys were designated as 2020 Best Lawyers, including […]READ MORE
Jul 22, 2019
First New Mesothelioma Treatment in 15 Years Approved By FDA
By Ken Wilson It’s not often that we get to report new treatments for mesothelioma. While we do see a lot of clinical trials, the standard treatment plan for malignant pleural mesothelioma has been relatively unchanged for many years. Most patients go through surgery (if they are able to), radiation and chemotherapy. It can be […]READ MORE
Jun 10, 2019
When Personal Vaporizers Explode: An Entire Industry Designed Around the Wrong Battery
By Chris Moore Since the mid-2000s, we have become more reliant on lithium-ion batteries and the devices they power. The batteries are extremely useful and serve an important function. Just a decade ago, it would have been inconceivable for a laptop computer or a smartphone to be used for an entire day on just one […]READ MORE
May 23, 2019
RPWB Named To Leadership of 3M Combat Arms Ear Plug MDL
RPWB member attorney Elizabeth Middleton Burke was named to the leadership of the 3M Combat Arms Ear Plug multidistrict litigation. Federal lawsuits filed against 3M for producing faulty military ear plugs have been consolidated in the Northern District of Florida. Burke was named as co-chair of the Plaintiff Steering Committee, which builds the national product […]READ MORE
May 20, 2019
Richardson is a Top 25 Lawyer (Again!)
RPWB Founding Member Terry Richardson has been named as one of the top 25 lawyers in South Carolina by Super Lawyers, one of the nation’s premiere attorney rating services. This marks Richardson’s ninth time appearing on the list. For three consecutive years, he was ranked as one of the top 10 attorneys in the state. […]READ MORE
Apr 24, 2019
RPWB named to leadership of firefighting foam MDL
CHARLESTON, S.C. – RPWB has been named to the leadership of litigation to help the nation’s water utilities filter out harmful chemicals left behind by firefighting foam manufactured by 3M and Tyco. RPWB member Christiaan Marcum sits on the Plaintiff Executive Committee of the Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) Multi-District Litigation, which has been consolidated in […]READ MORE
Mar 25, 2019
Supreme Court ruling will help asbestos victims
By Dave Butler The United States Supreme Court delivered an unexpectedly good opinion for asbestos victims last week. For years, equipment makers (including those who make pumps, valves, turbines and boilers) have argued that they only make and sell metal products and cannot be held responsible for asbestos products made by third parties and later […]READ MORE
Jan 18, 2019
RPWB welcomes a new member
Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman is proud to announce that Aaron Dias has been named the firm’s newest member. Dias has spent the entirety of his legal career with RPWB, beginning as a clerk during law school. In 2005, he became an associate attorney at the firm. His practice focuses primarily on pharmaceutical and other […]READ MORE
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