Our team at Luvera Law Firm, including attorneys Patricia Anderson, David Beninger and Andrew Hoyal, represents the first group of plaintiffs to go to trial against Amtrak for its 2017 derailment near Seattle, Wash. Read on for major developments, including $16.75 million and $10 million verdicts for the victims, plus media coverage of the trial.
Update: Feburary 12, 2020
A jury has awarded more than $10 million to a man who was seriously injured when an Amtrak train derailed near DuPont in 2017.
Donnell Linton, 47 of Renton, is one of many passengers of Amtrak Cascades 501 who took action against Amtrak after the train left the tracks and some of its cars crashed onto the freeway below. Three died and dozens were injured.
Jurors issued the verdict in Linton’s favor Tuesday in in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
“He and his son got ejected from the train and landed on the pavement below,” said David Beninger of Luvera Law Firm. “... His dad basically saved his life by wrapping him up and holding him to his chest as they flew through the air to the pavement below.”
“I know that Amtrak has spent more time trying to fight these cases than they have trying to fix their problems,” he added. “... Hopefully this verdict will help encourage positive changes.”
Update: September 13, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jury Awards Victims of 2017 Amtrak Derailment $16.75 Million
First trial in DuPont, Wash., Amtrak derailment sets foundation for dozens more over next 18 months
Tacoma WA – A jury has awarded $16.75 million in damages to plaintiffs injured in the 2017 Amtrak derailment outside DuPont, Wash. The plaintiffs, Dale Skyllingstad, Blaine Wilmotte and Madison Wilmotte, are the first group of victims to go to trial against the railway carrier for a tragedy that killed three men and injured more than 60 passengers, crew and community members on the road below.
In the verdict, the jury awarded economic and non-economic damages of $7.75 million to Skyllingstad and $7 million to Blaine Wilmotte, and $2 million to Madison Wilmotte in recognition of the impact of the accident on the Wilmotte’s marriage.
“The scars of this tragedy run deep – there are many we can’t see, and that may never heal,” said David Beninger of Luvera Law Firm in Seattle, who represented the plaintiffs along with co-counsel Clifford Law Offices based in Chicago. “This verdict is the first step in giving the victims and their families the justice that they deserve.”
Read the full release here.
Jury awards nearly $17 million to 3 plaintiffs in Amtrak derailment suit
By: Associated Press, KING Staff, King 5 News
TACOMA, Wash. — A jury has awarded nearly $17 million to three people who filed a lawsuit after the 2017 deadly Amtrak derailment in DuPont, Washington.
The train was on its first paid passenger run on a new route from Tacoma to Portland, Oregon, when it plunged onto Interstate 5, killing three people and injuring dozens.
Dale Skyllingstad, Blaine Wilmotte, and Madison Wimotte sued for past and future economic and non-economic damages following the crash.
The three plaintiffs were awarded the following:
Skyllingstad: $7.75 million
B. Wilmotte: $7 million
M. Wilmotte: $2 million
Two were severely injured in the crash. Skyllingstad was a passenger on the train and Blaine Wilmotte was driving on the interstate below when the train derailed. Read the full article here.
Amtrak Derailment Victims to Get $16.75 Million, Law Firm Says
By: Natnicha Chuwiruch, Bloomberg
A jury has awarded three plaintiffs injured in a 2017 Amtrak derailment outside DuPont, Washington a total of $16.75 million in damages, Luvera Law Firm said in a statement Friday.
The plaintiffs, Dale Skyllingstad, Blaine Wilmotte and Madison Wilmotte, are the first group of victims to take the railway carrier to trial for the incident that killed three men and injured more than 60 people on the road below the track.
Skyllingstad was awarded $7.75 million, Wilmotte was awarded $7 million and Madison Wilmotte received $2 million.
Luvera Law Firm in Seattle and co-counsel Clifford Law Offices based in Chicago represented the plaintiffs. Read the full story here.
Jury awards nearly $17M to first vicitms to sue Amtrak after deadly 2017 train derailment
By: Q13 News Staff, Q13 Fox
TACOMA, Wash. -- A jury awarded millions of dollars to the first victims to sue Amtrak since the deadly 2017 derailment in DuPont, Washington.
Three victims will split nearly $17 million. Dale Skyllingstad was awarded $7.75 million, Blaine Wilmotte $7 million and his wife Madison Wilmotte $2 million.
Amtrak has admitted it's at fault for the crash and subsequent injuries. An eight-person jury began deliberations Thursday to determine how much victims will be compensated for what they described as life-changing injuries. The trial, which is taking place in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, involves two crash victims. Read the full story here.
Jury in DuPont Amtrak derailment case to decide compensation for ‘awful injuries’
By: Alexis Krell, The News Tribune
A trial in the case of several people suing Amtrak for a derailment that injured them near DuPont started Tuesday.
The Dec. 18, 2017 derailment killed three people and injured dozens. Among the injured were 26-year-old Aaron Harris, 29-year-old Dale Skyllingstad, and 24-year-old Blaine Wilmotte.
Attorneys made opening statements in their case in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Others injured in the derailment await trial.
David Beninger, one of the attorneys representing Harris, Skyllingstad and Wilmotte, told jurors his clients suffered broken bones, brain injuries, spinal wounds and other trauma when Amtrak Cascades 501 derailed. Read the full story here.
By: The Associated Press, The Oregonian
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Attorneys for people injured in a deadly Amtrak derailment in Washington state in 2017 have told jurors in a civil case it’s up to them to decide how much compensation should be given to those who suffered broken bones, brain injuries and other trauma.
The News Tribune reports that the trial began Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The train was on its first paid passenger run on a new route from Tacoma to Portland, Oregon, when it plunged onto Interstate 5, killing three people and injuring dozens. Read the full story here.
By: Kohr Harlan, KOIN-6
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearly two years after the deadly derailment of an Amtrak train in Washington, a trial is underway in the first civil lawsuit related to the disaster.
An Amtrak train heading toward Portland derailed in Dupont on December 18, 2017, killing three and injuring 65 others. The train flew off the rails of the Point Defiance Bypass while going about 50 mph over the recommended speed.
Three men who were injured in this incident have filed lawsuits. Two of them were on the train when it flew off the rails. The other victim was a driver on I-5 when it came crashing down.
The attorney representing these men said this issue is part of a bigger picture with Amtrak rather than a 1-time, tragic accident.
“This is a systemic problem with AMTRAK. This is not an individual accident,” said attorney David Beninger. “It was an institutional problem that made an accident waiting to happen.” Read the full story here.
Update: September 3, 2019
Amtrak concedes negligence in catastrophic 2017 derailment south of Tacoma
By: Tom Banse, KUOW
In a joint opening statement, two attorneys for the derailment victims said they will seek "full accountability" for the permanent disabilities their clients suffered.
"If you break something, you have to fix it, replace it, repair it and take responsibility for it," said David Beninger, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "The law is the same."
The jury trial in front of Judge Benjamin Settle in U.S. District Court is scheduled to go for about eight days. The witness list makes it likely the trial will revolve around the derailment victims' injuries and recoveries. Read the full story here.
First lawsuit against Amtrak over deadly Washington derailment goes to trial
By: Drew Mikkelsen, KING-5 News
David Beninger discusses the safety and training policies that Amtrak failed to change long before the crash in DuPont.
“This will help bring that story home so that we understand this isn’t just an accident that will be forgotten, that we hope will all be better, but it was an accident waiting to happen by institutional problems.” Watch the segment here.
By: Keith Eldridge, KOMO News
AMTRAK admits negligence in the 2017 derailment onto I-5 that killed three passengers and injured 65 others on the train and on the freeway. That revelation comes as the civil trial brought by three people opened in Federal Court in Tacoma Tuesday. The only issue to decide is compensation.
“This is a systemic problem with AMTRAK,” said David Beninger, plaintiffs’ attorney. “This is not an individual accident. It was an institutional problem that made an accident waiting to happen.” Read the full story here.
Update: September 2, 2019
By: Simone Del Rosario, Q13 FOX
"It's all too easy to blame it on individuals but this was an institutional problem and it involved a number of institutions, Amtrak first and foremost," attorney David Beninger told Q13 News after the investigation ended in May. Beninger is representing the three victims in this trial.
The NTSB investigation also did not blame the engineer, who investigators say was set up to fail. Instead, it blamed multiple agencies, including Amtrak, the defendant in this trial. Watch the full story here.