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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Federal jury awards plaintiffs $17 million in Washington Amtrak derailment case

Federal Court

By Amanda Smith-Teutsch | Sep 18, 2019


TACOMA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) – A federal jury has awarded a multimillion-dollar verdict to two families impacted by the deadly 2017 Amtrak 501 train crash outside of Dupont, Washington.

Attorneys Sean P. Driscoll and Kristofer S. Riddle, attorneys at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, litigated the case before Judge Benjamin Settle in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma. The nearly $17 million verdict was handed down Sept. 13.

The train crash happened Dec. 18, 2017. An Amtrak train on the Cascades line was travelling on the Point Defiance Bypass when it derailed and crashed onto the highway below. Several cars on Interstate 5 were crushed, three people onboard the train died and 60 people were injured. Data later showed the train was going 50 miles per hour over the speed limit when the crash occurred.

Driscoll and Riddle represented Dale Skyllingstad, Blaine Wilmotte and his wife, Madison Wilmotte. Skyllingstad was awarded $7.75 million for his injuries, which included broken bones and a brain injury. Blaine Wilmotte received $7 million for the injuries he suffered, which occurred when the train car landed on his truck, crushed him and trapped him inside. His wife, Madison Wilmotte, received $2 million for the impact on the Wilmottes’ marriage.

“The Wilmottes and Mr. Skyllingstad got to tell their stories and the jury listened,” said Driscoll in a press release. “These people’s lives are forever changed due to the negligence of those in charge who simply ignored safety regulations.”

Amtrak admitted liability for the accident before the trial started. The jury heard testimony about the impact of the crash on the victims and their families for about two weeks before deciding on the case.

This is the first verdict awarded from lawsuits resulting from the crash. The law firm represents about two dozen victims from the crash. 

The case is 2:18-cv-00086-BHS, Wilmotte, et al v. National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Organizations in this Story

AmtrakU.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington Tacoma DivisionCLIFFORD LAW OFFICES, PC