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Metrolink Train Derailment

Below is the original complaint filed by Panish Shea & Boyle on behalf of Robert Janovici who was severly injured on January 25, 2006 in a Metrolink Train Derailment. Panish Shea & Boyle, LLP is scheduled to try this first case from the Glendale Metrolink Train Derailment.


COMES NOW, plaintiffs, ROBERT JANOVICI and SUSAN JANOVICI who complains and alleges against defendants and each of them, as follows:

 

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

(For Negligence Against Defendants Southern California Regional Rail Authority dba Metrolink; Metropolitan Transportation Authority dba MTA and Does 1 through 100, inclusive) Plaintiffs through their attorneys Brian J. Panish and Kevin R. Boyle bring the following cause of action against defendants:

  1. Plaintiffs, ROBERT JANOVICI and SUSAN JANOVICI is, and at all times herein mentioned are, individuals residing in the County of Los Angeles, State of California.
  2. The true names and/or capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate or otherwise of defendants 1 through 100, inclusive, are unknown to plaintiffs at this time who, therefore, sue said defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon alleges that each of the defendants fictitiously named herein as a Doe is legally responsible, negligently or in some other actionable manner, for the events and happenings hereinafter referred to and that the acts and omissions of said defendants was a legal cause of the injury to plaintiffs and the resulting injury and damages to plaintiffs as hereinafter alleged. The plaintiffs will amend this Complaint to assert the true names and/or capacities of such fictitiously named defendants when the same have been ascertained.
  3. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon alleges that, at all times mentioned herein, defendants were the agents, servants, employees, successors-in-interest and/or joint venturers of their co-defendants and were, as such, acting within the purpose, course, scope and authority of said agency, employment, successor-in-interest and/or joint venture and that each and every defendant as aforesaid was acting as a principle and was negligent in the selection and hiring and retention of each and every defendant as an agent, employee, successor-in-interest and/or joint venturer.
  4. At all times mentioned herein, defendant SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL RAIL AUTHORITY dba METROLINK (hereinafter “Metrolink”) and defendant METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY dba MTA (hereinafter “MTA”) were and now are public entities duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of California and authorized to do, and doing, business in the State of California with their principal place of business in Los Angeles County; said defendants were at all times herein mentioned, and now are, engaged in the business of a common carrier by railroad in the State of California.
  5. On or about January 26, 2005, the plaintiff, ROBERT JANOVICI, was a passenger for hire and was riding on a Metrolink train being pushed by a Metrolink locomotive on and along railroad tracks crossing Chevy Chase Drive near the boundary line between the City of Glendale and the City of Los Angeles in the County of Los Angeles, State of California. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that at all times mentioned herein, said railroad train, locomotive, railroad operations, tracks and adjoining railroad tracks and the railroad right of way on which they were located (herein after “said property”) were owned, controlled, operated, managed, constructed, maintained, repaired, designed, evaluated, built, overseen, patrolled and supervised by Metrolink and MTA, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive.
  6. On or about January 26, 2005, and prior thereto, defendants Metrolink and MTA, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, were responsible for maintaining and ensuring the safe use and proper condition of said railroad operations and property, including railroad crossings, locomotives, trains, signs, signals, switches, safety devices, communication devices and other equipment at and along said property, and for properly and safely managing, overseeing and coordinating the travel of railroad trains upon and along said property and for properly and safely managing, overseeing and coordinating the travel of motor vehicles approaching and crossing said property.
  7. At all times mentioned herein, Metrolink and MTA owed the highest degree of care to the plaintiffs, ROBERT JANOVICI and SUSAN JANOVICI.
  8. On or about January 26, 2005, Metrolink and MTA, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, negligently, carelessly and wrongfully owned, controlled, operated, managed, constructed, maintained, repaired, designed, evaluated, built, oversaw, patrolled and supervised its railroad trains, said property and the approach of Chevy Chase Drive to said property so as to cause the Metrolink train on which the plaintiff, ROBERT JANOVICI, was riding as a passenger, to derail and crash, and thereby cause injuries to the plaintiffs. Illustrative of defendants’ negligence, before and at the time of the accident, said defendants allowed their trains to be operated by locomotive engines at the rear so as to allow defendants’ trains to be pushed down the track without any adequate safeguards at the front of defendants’ trains to protect occupants in the event of contact with foreign objects located upon the tracks. Furthermore, Metrolink and MTA, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, negligently, carelessly and wrongfully failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury to its passengers and to guard them from injury and death.
  9. As a result of the conduct and negligence of defendants, and each of them, plaintiff ROBERT JANOVICI, sustained injuries, including but not limited to, closed head injury, internal injuries, neck fracture and fractured clavicle as well as severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, and trauma.
  10. As a result of said conduct and negligence of defendants, and each of them, plaintiffs have been required to employ and have employed physicians and surgeons and have incurred medical expenses in the treatment of said injuries; plaintiffs allege on information and belief that plaintiffs will employ physicians and surgeons in the future and will incur medical expenses in the treatment of said injuries in the future by reason of said negligence. Plaintiffs will ask leave to amend this Complaint to show the exact amounts incurred or will offer proof thereof at the time of trial.
  11. As a result of said conduct and negligence of defendants, and each of them, plaintiff ROBERT JANOVICI, has been disabled from working at his usual occupation and has lost wages and earnings thereby; plaintiffs allege on information and belief that plaintiffs will lose further wages and earnings in the future by reason of said negligence. Plaintiffs do not know the total amount of wages or earnings lost or to be lost and will ask leave to amend this Complaint to show the same when ascertained or will offer proof thereof at the time of trial.
  12. Metrolink and MTA timely received a Government Claim for Damages submitted by plaintiffs. The claim was rejected by Metrolink and MTA.

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

(For Dangerous Condition of Public Property Against Defendants Southern California Regional Rail Authority dba Metrolink; Metropolitan Transportation Authority dba MTA and Does 1 through 100, inclusive)

  1. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference as though fully set forth herein each and every fact, claim and allegation contained in the prior paragraphs.
  2. On January 26, 2005, and prior thereto, Metrolink and MTA, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, are, and at all times relevant herein were, the entities who owned, controlled, operated, managed, designed, evaluated, constructed, maintained, built, oversaw, repaired, patrolled, and supervised said property and the approach to said property along Chevy Chase Drive and the railroad crossing of said property by Chevy Chase Drive.
  3. On January 26, 2005, plaintiff, ROBERT JANOVICI, was riding in a lawful and foreseeable manner as a passenger for hire exercising due care on a Metrolink train on said property when suddenly and without warning to plaintiff, ROBERT JANOVICI, the Metrolink train derailed causing severe injuries to plaintiff.
  4. On January 26, 2005, and prior thereto, said property was in a dangerous condition which created a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm when used by plaintiffs with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used and the condition was not reasonably apparent to, and would not be anticipated by, a reasonable person using said property with due care. The dangerous condition of said property existed due to defendants’ negligent, unsafe, improper, and inadequate ownership, control, use, operation, management, construction, maintenance, repair, design, and supervision of said property at and near the location of the derailment. Furthermore, said property was in a dangerous condition due to, among other things, defendants’ failure to alter, improve or modify said property to accommodate changed conditions in terms of the type and volume of train and automotive traffic moving over or crossing said property. Said property was also in a dangerous condition, and defendants’ railroad operations over said property was unsafe, due to defendants’ practice of pushing railroad cars carrying passengers with locomotive engines attached to the rear of such trains, operating trains at unreasonably high speeds for the conditions, and operating trains at the same grade level as the roadways crossing said property rather than routing such crossing through over or underpasses. Moreover, said property was in a dangerous condition due to the lack of appropriate fences and barriers, the lack of devices to provide adequate warnings to the operators of Metrolink trains to take action to avoid striking an object blocking the rails and thereby leading to derailment, the lack of warnings to passengers riding Metrolink trains of the dangers of riding trains over said property, the failure to comply with regulations applicable to railroad operations and railroad cars including the lack of proper and adequate end plates on defendants’ railroad cars, as well as other deficiencies.
  5. Defendants had actual knowledge of the existence of the dangerous condition and
    knew, or should have known, of its dangerous character a sufficient period of time prior to the injuries and deaths caused by the subject accident to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition.
  6. Defendants had constructive notice of the dangerous condition because the
    condition had existed for a sufficient period of time and was of such an obvious nature that defendants, in the exercise of due care, should have discovered the condition and its dangerous character and the likelihood of collisions between trains and motor vehicles and other objects on or near said property which would lead to serious injury or death, and should have discovered this condition a sufficient period of time before the January 26, 2005 derailment occurred to have allowed defendants time to correct, eliminate or assuage those hazards.
  7. On January 26, 2005, as a direct, proximate and legal result of the dangerous condition of said property as alleged herein, and the negligent and unjustified failure and refusal of Metrolink and MTA, and Does 1 through 100, inclusive, to remedy, assuage or eliminate the dangerous condition of said property by necessary and appropriate modifications, repairs, improvements and upgrades, ROBERT JANOVICI was injured due to the derailment of the Metrolink train in which he was riding as a passenger.
  8. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that the defendants identified in this cause of action knew for a significant period of time before January 26, 2005, of serious accidents and derailments between trains and motor vehicles and other objects at or near said property as a consequence of the dangerous condition of the railroad tracks, railroad right of way, railroad crossings, locomotives, trains, signs, signals, switches, safety devices, communication devices and other equipment at and along its railroad tracks at or near said property. Defendants had actual notice that said property was in need of redesign, repairs, replacement, upgrade, and/or refurbishment yet defendants neglected to carry out said work. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that, had appropriate actions been taken by defendants, the subject derailment would have been prevented or, at the very least, plaintiffs would not have been injured.
  9. As a result of the conduct of defendants, and each of them, plaintiffs were caused to sustain serious and permanent injuries and caused to sustain great pain and suffering, all to plaintiffs general damage in an amount in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of the above entitled Court.
  10. As a result of said conduct of defendants, and each of them, plaintiffs have
    been required to employ and have employed physicians and surgeons and have incurred medical expenses in the treatment of said injuries; plaintiffs allege on information and belief that plaintiffs will employ physicians and surgeons in the future and will incur medical expenses in the treatment of said injuries in the future by reason of said negligence. Plaintiffs will ask leave to amend this Complaint to show the exact amounts incurred or will offer proof thereof at the time of trial.
  11. As a result of said conduct of defendants, and each of them, plaintiff ROBERT JANOVICI has been disabled from working at his usual occupation and has lost wages and earnings thereby; plaintiffs allege on information and belief that plaintiffs will lose further wages and earnings in the future by reason of said negligence. Plaintiffs do not know the total amount of wages or earnings lost or to be lost and will ask leave to amend this Complaint to show the same when ascertained or will offer proof thereof at the time of trial.

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

(LOSS OF CONSORTIUM Against Defendants Southern California Regional Rail Authority dba Metrolink; Metropolitan Transportation Authority dba MTA and Does 1 through 100, inclusive)

  1. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each and every allegation contained in the prior paragraphs.
  2. Plaintiff ROBERT JANOVICI and SUSAN JANOVICI were lawfully married at all times relevant to this action, and now are husband and wife.
  3. As alleged above, and as a result of the conduct of the Defendants, Plaintiff ROBERT JANOVICI sustained severe and permanent injuries and damages.
  4. As a direct and proximate result of the afore-mentioned injuries suffered by Plaintiff SUSAN JANOVICI’S spouse, ROBERT JANOVICI , Plaintiff SUSAN JANOVICI has been deprived, continues to be deprived, and expects to be deprived in the future, of her spouse’s companionship, affection, love, sexual relations, conjugal fellowship, physical assistance in maintaining the family home and comfort for a non-determinable length of time, which deprivation has caused, continues to cause, and in the future is expected to cause Plaintiff to suffer depression, emotional distress, loss of earning capacity, past, present, and future, and other injuries, the full extent of which has not yet been ascertained, but which will be stated according to proof at trial.
  5. As a further direct and proximate result fo the aforesaid conduct of defendants, and each of them, Plaintiff SUSAN JANOVICI has sustained a loss of consortium, love, society, comfort and affection with respect tp Plaintiff ROBERT JANOVICI and has thereby sustained pecuniary loss in a some within the jurisdictional limits of the Court, which will be stated according to proof at trial.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs, pray for judgment against defendants, and each of them, as follows:

  1. For general non-economic damages according to proof at trial;
  2. For medical expenses and other economic damages according to proof;
  3. For prejudgement interest according to proof;
  4. For damages for plaintiffs other economic and non-economic losses, if any, according to proof;
  5. For damages for loss of consortium, as to SUSAN JANOVICI, according to proof at trial;
  6. For costs of litigation and trial according to proof;
  7. For attorney fees according to proof; and
  8. For such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

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