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 initially 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.
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