May 13, 2014: Charges Filed in Lac-Megantic Derailment

Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, Ltd. and three of its employees have been formally charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death as a result of the July 6, 2013 derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The employees being charged include the engineer, Thomas Harding, the manager of train operations, Jean Demaitre, and the railway’s traffic controller, Richard Labrie. If they are convicted they will be facing possible life in prison. The railroad also faces possible fines. Canadian law does not specify a minimum or maximum amount of fines that can be imposed so it will be up to the presiding judge to determine that amount should they be convicted. This derailment resulted in the worst railway accident that Canada has seen in nearly 150 years. More than 60 of the DOT-111 tanker cars became loose and traveled downhill for nearly seven miles before derailing. This caused five of the tankers to explode which resulted in 47 deaths and 30 buildings being leveled. There will eventually be a settlement fund set up to compensate the victims and their families as well as to repay the cleanup costs. Early estimates show the total cost for environmental cleanup could be between $200 and $500 million but the insurance payout that is available for wrongful death, personal injury, property damage, fire suppression and environmental impact comes to just $25 million.

Click here to read the full article in the Montreal Gazette