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Personal injury claim against Amtrak receives federal status

A woman who filed a lawsuit against Amtrak, also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, may have a harder time than she expected. According to reports, her premises liability claim will have the federal court system as its setting, even though she wants to have the claim taken care of in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. She reportedly filed another, previous complaint in this lower court and believed she could file her complaint against Amtrak at the same legal level. Amtrak, however, is a quasi-governmental entity and because of this, a judge ruled that federal jurisdiction should oversee this case.

The woman filed her lawsuit against Amtrak in April of this year, claiming a broken metal pole protruding from a sidewalk caused her to trip and suffer several injuries in December 2010. Her suit indicates that the injury caused scarring, arthritis, cubital tunnel syndrome and fractures to her extremities. Other injuries are listed in the complaint, as well. The plaintiff alleges Amtrak should have been aware of this hazard and addressed it. By not doing so, she claims the company has committed an act of negligence and should be held responsible for her physical, mental and financial injuries. Situations like this often call for the expertise of an attorney.

It is important to note the woman filed her first complaint in July of last year but not against Amtrak. She filed it against the City of Philadelphia and several other defendants. When the discovery process was happening, the woman said she learned that Amtrak could be a defendant, as well, and later argued her two state-level court actions be consolidated into one. Soon after her case was filed against Amtrak, lawyers for the company had the case removed to federal court. The woman then asked that the case be remanded to the lower court where she had originally filed the case. The presiding judge denied this motion, even though the plaintiff had argued the company had failed to provide a proper basis for the federal jurisdiction. The company responded, stating that this jurisdiction is suitable because the company was established by an act of Congress.


Source: 
Pennsylvania Record, "Judge: Amtrak injury claim must play out in federal, not Philly, court" Jon Campisi, Jul. 17, 2013

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Gregory R. Gifford
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