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46Dover

Engineer with Sleep Apnea sues for $10 million...

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The Metro-North engineer who fell asleep at the controls of speeding train three

years ago today is blaming the commuter railroad for a Bronx derailment that

killed four passengers, The Journal News/Lohud has learned.

The $10 million lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New York revealed
that engineer William Rockefeller says Metro-North should have equipped the
Manhattan-bound train with a system that would have automatically applied the brakes
when the train exceeded posted speed limits.

The filing of the lawsuit was timed to meet the deadline for railroad employees with injury claims, lawyers said.

 

Read more: Source

Edited by +Young+
Modified for home page...
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This is an insult to the passengers on that train that perished, as well as the Riverdale community.  I use this station frequently (used it this morning in fact) along with the Riverdale station and I think Metro-North has moved swiftly to increase safety at the Spuyten Duyvil station. It's egregious but not shocking that this guy is looking for a payout.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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The fact that the engineer lawyer waited until the last day before the statute of limitations would otherwise disallow this makes me wonder...

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The longer the time between the accident and the date of filing, the more of a case he has to make on the agency denying him disability (which in this case, was three years).

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The longer the time between the accident and the date of filing, the more of a case he has to make on the agency denying him disability (which in this case, was three years).

But in this article, it says he wasn't given the proper equipment to operate with. Now if he's going about it in the way he was denied disability, the Railroad hated him that much that they didn't even give him a dime.

 

BUT, with an undiagnosed condition, you could also say it was something he failed to disclose so much that it could affect his job to the extent that he wouldn't be operating trains, thus affecting his income.

 

I will say this:

 

The sleep apnea thing that's been the main case of this and the recent accident in Hoboken, and because these engineers didn't take it upon themselves to get treatment, is now going to have a widespread effect on the transportation industry as a whole, bus ops, truckers, railroaders included (in a similar case, the crash in Chase, Maryland that killed 16 people and the Conrail engineer was found under the influence of drugs, thus ramping up drug and alcohol testing for all transit operators). It's already hitting the bus operators. I've known a few folks who have been put out until they do a sleep study.

 

In essence, the Federal government is now going to come out guns blazing and the after effect will not be pretty

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But in this article, it says he wasn't given the proper equipment to operate with. Now if he's going about it in the way he was denied disability, the Railroad hated him that much that they didn't even give him a dime.

 

BUT, with an undiagnosed condition, you could also say it was something he failed to disclose so much that it could affect his job to the extent that he wouldn't be operating trains, thus affecting his income.

 

I will say this:

 

The sleep apnea thing that's been the main case of this and the recent accident in Hoboken, and because these engineers didn't take it upon themselves to get treatment, is now going to have a widespread effect on the transportation industry as a whole, bus ops, truckers, railroaders included (in a similar case, the crash in Chase, Maryland that killed 16 people and the Conrail engineer was found under the influence of drugs, thus ramping up drug and alcohol testing for all transit operators). It's already hitting the bus operators. I've known a few folks who have been put out until they do a sleep study.

 

In essence, the Federal government is now going to come out guns blazing and the after effect will not be pretty

 

Those sleep studies are not cheap, at all. If they become the norm, I see railroads and bus companies moving towards driver-less vehicles etc with even more vigor than they currently are. 

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Those sleep studies are not cheap, at all. If they become the norm, I see railroads and bus companies moving towards driver-less vehicles etc with even more vigor than they currently are.

 

The insurance companies should compensate for that. Even with all the human issues, I don't think we'll be looking at automation that drastically. Example: the R143s that are operating on the (L). You'd still have to have on board ops to monitor the computers should they go haywire.

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Frankly, the way they have framed this lawsuit, he has a pretty good chance of winning and making Metro North look pretty bad...

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Those sleep studies are not cheap, at all. If they become the norm, I see railroads and bus companies moving towards driver-less vehicles etc with even more vigor than they currently are. 

Yeah but I don't see how the (MTA) could do it. The unions would throw a fit and I don't think the public would go for it either.  I like reducing costs too, but not at the sake of risking safety.

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But in this article, it says he wasn't given the proper equipment to operate with. Now if he's going about it in the way he was denied disability, the Railroad hated him that much that they didn't even give him a dime.

BUT, with an undiagnosed condition, you could also say it was something he failed to disclose so much that it could affect his job to the extent that he wouldn't be operating trains, thus affecting his income.

 

It's nothing about being hated or not.  He was denied disability because it's the cheap way out for the carrier.  Unfortunately the only way around it is to lawyer up.  The stance is the train didn't have proper protective devices.  Ironically the locomotive had it but the cab car did not.  One could say as a result it's safer to operate out of the locomotive.

 

As far as the undiagnosed condition, how could that be disclosed?  You can't disclose something you are not aware you have.  I go for annual physicals with my primary care and it's not something that gets tested for.  At the time of the incident it's not something engineers received testing for in there company physicals.

 

Lets say the condition was diabetes.  God forbid and there was an incident that resulted in the engineer had a diabetic reaction and passed out and he didn't know he had diabetes.  Would reaction be the same? 

Edited by Truckie
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It's nothing about being hated or not.  He was denied disability because it's the cheap way out for the carrier.  Unfortunately the only way around it is to lawyer up.  The stance is the train didn't have proper protective devices.  Ironically the locomotive had it but the cab car did not.  One could say as a result it's safer to operate out of the locomotive.

 

As far as the undiagnosed condition, how could that be disclosed?  You can't disclose something you are not aware you have.  I go for annual physicals with my primary care and it's not something that gets tested for.  At the time of the incident it's not something engineers received testing for in there company physicals.

 

Lets say the condition was diabetes.  God forbid and there was an incident that resulted in the engineer had a diabetic reaction and passed out and he didn't know he had diabetes.  Would reaction be the same? 

My response would be the same.  Are you seriously telling me that after this guy destroyed the lives of numerous families that he's right in turning around and suing for $10 million dollars?  That's just absurd.  It seems like a slap in the face.  The situation was unfortunate enough as it is, but this just makes him like a selfish jerk.

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It's nothing about being hated or not. He was denied disability because it's the cheap way out for the carrier. Unfortunately the only way around it is to lawyer up. The stance is the train didn't have proper protective devices. Ironically the locomotive had it but the cab car did not. One could say as a result it's safer to operate out of the locomotive.

 

As far as the undiagnosed condition, how could that be disclosed? You can't disclose something you are not aware you have. I go for annual physicals with my primary care and it's not something that gets tested for. At the time of the incident it's not something engineers received testing for in there company physicals.

 

Lets say the condition was diabetes. God forbid and there was an incident that resulted in the engineer had a diabetic reaction and passed out and he didn't know he had diabetes. Would reaction be the same?

While I'm not a MN employee, I do have questions now.

 

The point about push pull operations

You said that it would be safer to operate out of the engine due to the safety measures out of the engine. But isn't there a practical reason for all the locomotives to be hauled at the north end of the train?

 

Is sleep apnea treatment covered in railroad insurance plans? There was talk about how expensive sleep studies are, and that transportation systems/companies may want to go into automation because of it (which I don't see happening). Even so, my insurance company covers for 50% of the equipment (sleep apnea machines).

 

Finally I see the point you made about the diabetes. I then thought about the NJT bus crash in Newark and how that happened. The degree to which it happened was unfortunate that it was a medical condition. And the older you get, the higher chance you have of things like this happening, which is why it's important you start out in this industry at a young age. Do your 20 and be done with it.

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My response would be the same.  Are you seriously telling me that after this guy destroyed the lives of numerous families that he's right in turning around and suing for $10 million dollars?  That's just absurd.  It seems like a slap in the face.  The situation was unfortunate enough as it is, but this just makes him like a selfish jerk.

 

It's undeniable he destroyed numerous families, including his own.  However he did not do it with intent.  He was not charged with any crime.  At the same point he's still employed by the carrier and being held "out of service" with no disciplinary hearing therefore not receiving any pay or medical benefits or formal discipline.  Of course the $10 million is an astronomical number.  Unfortunately any legal suit is aim high and agree to a lower number.  If there is a settlement there will be hands in the cookie jar for lawyer fees and court expenses.

The point about push pull operations

You said that it would be safer to operate out of the engine due to the safety measures out of the engine. But isn't there a practical reason for all the locomotives to be hauled at the north end of the train?

 

 

The only practical reason I know of for the locomotive to be on the north end is spotting in GCT.  The majority of passengers will walk from the main concourse.  If the engine was on the south end passengers would have to walk past the noise to get on the train.

 

As far as actual operations, there is no practical reason that I'm aware of.  It is interesting that since the accident the operating cabs that did not have alerters have been retrofitted.  Possible this implies guilt in a lawyer's point of view.  I'm not a lawyer so I will not speculate.

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The insurance companies should compensate for that. Even with all the human issues, I don't think we'll be looking at automation that drastically. Example: the R143s that are operating on the (L). You'd still have to have on board ops to monitor the computers should they go haywire.

I'm not so sure. The way the winds are blowing, from what I've read, these companies understand they need a human on board right now, but are trying to slowly move people away from that norm to a Jetsons-like future with total automation (though this may be 40 or 50 years down the line. Of course, you are in the industry so you would have a better sense of this than I.

Yeah but I don't see how the (MTA) could do it. The unions would throw a fit and I don't think the public would go for it either.  I like reducing costs too, but not at the sake of risking safety.

Right now, that is true. But 50 years from now, with a generation of people who grew up with technology and automation, it may be more acceptable. Kind of like how today, people would think you are crazy for expecting a milkman government drop off milk every night, but everyone expected it 60 years ago.

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Those sleep studies are not cheap, at all. If they become the norm, I see railroads and bus companies moving towards driver-less vehicles etc with even more vigor than they currently are. 

It shouldn't take studies to highlight that Mr. Rockefeller was a graveyard shift worker whose circadian rhythm was improperly left out during an abrupt shift change. This is the MTA's fault for making the shift change, and Rockefeller's for not raising hell prior.

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Sleep problems not just effects those in bus and rail companies, no, no, no, no, no. It effects everybody's daily life. depending on what shift you work out of, anybody can get sleepy in the day and by night, they're wide awake, or the normal way is wake in the day and sleep at night.

 

For me, long trips on the bus can put me to drowsiness, then wake up, right near the stop I get off at....

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