Lawsuit settlements reached in Metro-North crash

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Four of 28 people who sued the Metro-North Railroad in federal court after being injured in a train crash in Connecticut last year have settled with the commuter railroad, lawyers involved in the case said Monday. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The four passengers reached agreements with Metro-North on Friday, becoming the first plaintiffs in the lawsuit to settle, the lawyers said. The railroad earlier settled with several other passengers who did not go to court.

The crash happened May 17, 2013, when an eastbound train derailed during the afternoon rush hour in Bridgeport and was struck about 20 seconds later by a westbound train. The wreck injured more than 70 people and disrupted service for days for roughly 30,000 Metro-North commuters.

Federal transportation officials found that Metro-North inspectors may have failed to spot a broken rail joint during an examination of the tracks two days before the crash.

Joel Faxon, a lawyer for two of the passengers who settled Friday, said one of his clients suffered a bad knee injury and the other had an inhalation injury.

"We're hopeful that ... the railroad will continue to recognize its responsibility and compensate the victims accordingly," said Faxon, who also represents several other passengers in the lawsuit. He said he expected that claims of people more seriously injured will take longer to resolve.

Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the railroad is trying to resolve all the claims stemming from the accident as soon as possible.

"It's in the public interest to do so," Anders said. "We need to resolve these cases and move on."

The lawsuits against Metro-North allege misconduct, negligence and recklessness in connection with the track problems blamed for the wreck.

The Bridgeport crash was one of several Metro-North incidents that resulted in extra scrutiny on the railroad. Eleven days after the wreck, a Metro-North track foreman was struck and killed by a passenger train in West Haven. In December, a Metro-North train derailed in New York City and killed four passengers.

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