Family of woman killed by light rail train files $10M claim against NJ Transit, related entities

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The family of a woman killed by a Hudson Bergen-Light Rail train on Christmas Eve in 2019 has filed a $10 million offer of judgement as part of wrongful death lawsuit filed against NJ Transit, the HBLR, and other related entities.

Photo via exchangeplacealliance.com.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The seven-count, 30-page lawsuit was filed in Hudson County Superior Court on January 11th by Devon Collins, the administratrix of the estate of Shannon Flood – the 43-year-old woman killed by a light rail train near the Exchange Place station on December 24th, 2019.

NJ Transit released few details surrounding her death at the time, but the lawsuit contends that she was simply “lawfully crossing the street” when she was killed.

“Ms. Flood by a was lawfully crossing the street when she was tragically struck by a light rail car which was being operated by defendant John Doe 1-10 (fictitious engineer/operator of a light rail train) and owned by defendant New Jersey Transit and/or New Jersey Transit Rail Operations and/or The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.”

The lawsuit also claims that the train’s driver failed to keep a proper lookout, use the appropriate horns and lights and was going too fast for the conditions as he sped into a crowded Exchange Place plaza filled with pedestrians and cars.

Additionally, it appears that the approach to the Exchange Place station failed to have adequate warning devices, signage and barriers to properly control the high volume of pedestrian and train traffic and to properly channel pedestrians to avoid contact with the trains, especially given the history of prior collisions and near-collisions.

The court filing seeks to produce incident, accident, and police reports, all video and audio recordings, as well as photographs, computer data, metadata, emails, and other online information, witness statements, as well as personnel files for NJ Transit employees who were on board when the fatal collision took place.

Counsel for the plaintiffs argue that NJ Transit failed to properly screen, train, and monitor employee, along with retaining unqualified employees.

The family is being represented by Bagolie Friedman Injury Lawyers, of Jersey City, and  Eisbrouch Marsh, of Hackensack, who said in a joint statement that the lawsuit “seeks to hold the defendants accountable for their negligence in causing Shannon’s death.”

As far as the $10 million offer of judgement, Alan Friedman, co-counsel in the matter, said that figure “reflects the alleged value for all of the harms and losses caused by the wrongful death.”

NJ Transit could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.