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Families: Metro wants suit dismissed

A representative of eight of the families of the nine people killed in the June 22 Red Line crash said in a statement that the day of remembrance was marred by recent actions Metro has taken in court in response to litigation pending over the accident. The families are suing for wrongful death and negligence. The family of train operator Jeanice McMillan was not a party to the statement.

The eight families tyson.gifinitially filed separate suits, but they were combined into one legal action.

According to a statement by Kenneth Hawkins, brother of Dennis Hawkins, 64, "On May 24, 2010 WMATA filed a motion for dismissal of the claims brought against them by the families of those killed in the Metrorail accident, based on the claim of sovereign immunity."

"As a quasi-government entity, WMATA believes that it does not or should not bear obvious responsibility for its negligence, which resulted in the untimely deaths of nine innocent and unsuspected citizens and scores of injured, all of whom trusted the safety of the Metrorail system," he said in the statement.

This petition "demonstrates the cynicism and blatant contempt WMATA has for the victims, families, and justice." It also makes this day of remembrance disingenuous to say the least."

"Our attorneys are at the court this moment filing opposition to the May, 24, 2010 petition for dismissal of the claim."

Hawkins said a trial date had been set for September 2011 in the case, but Metro petitioned the court on June 6 for an extension to 2012.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

This post will be updated with Metro's response and additional details as they become available.
Story: What now for Metro?

Video: D.C. emergency responders reflect on the crash

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By Michael Bolden  | June 22, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
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I don't like this precedent. Metro is plagued by too many safety issues to be granted the right and privilege to hide behind sovereign immunity. What happens when another citizen is killed due to their negligence. They just skate? Now, it appears that they have full intent on dragging this on for years in hopes that the families will give up and give in. I say stay the course. If Metro were wise they would settle these claims before the NTSB report is released. It is anticipated that it will reveal a strong case for gross negligence, of which, sovereign immunity will not apply and this maneuver will fiscally backfire on them.

What a horrible group of people we have running this system. Management AND board members. Shame on them all.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 22, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This should be front page news - WaPo's readers need to know exactly how horrible this company is.

Posted by: reiflame1 | June 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Metro should just offer to settle to the extent of its liability insurance.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Quasi-government? How about making them quasi-responsible?

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. Metro has been sued in the past and has paid damages. Why would they now invoke sovereign immunity?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | June 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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