A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge assigned to make damage allocations for the September, 2008 crash of a Ventura County bound Metrolink train found that the fund to compensate the families of those who died, as well as those who were injured was $64 million dollars short of what he thinks they should receive.
Judge Peter Lichtman said Metrolink, and Veolia, the company which operated the train, should be paying $264 million dollars to the families of the 24 people who died, as well as to the more than 100 who were injured. But, federal law caps railroad liability for accidents at $200 million dollars. Efforts by Republican Congressman Elton Gallegy of Simi Valley to get Congress to lift the cap were unsuccessful, and the company has declined to voluntarily increase its compensation. The judge had to go back and reduce the compensation to stay within the $200 million dollar limit.
Federal investigators say the engineer of the Metrolink train who was texting just before the accident was responsible for the head on crash between the commuter train, and a freight train in Chatsworth.