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Some settle in Midland train wreck lawsuit - Odessa American: Courts

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NOV. 15, 2012 TRAIN TRAGEDY Some settle in Midland train wreck lawsuit

26 people enter in confidential settlement two years after veteran's float collision

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Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 11:11 am

A little more than two years after a train struck a veteran’s float in Midland, killing four and injuring many more, 26 people settled a lawsuit with Union Pacific Railroad regarding a possible defect in the signal system.

According to a release from the Glasheen, Valles and Inderman law firm, along with attorney Bob Pottroff, their clients entered into a confidential settlement just 10 days before trial is supposed to begin in Midland.

Among those families who entered the settlement include the families of Joshua Michael and William Lubbers, who were killed in the wreck, Meg Ladner, who lost her leg, and Richard Sanchez, who is a partial paraplegic from the wreck, according to the release.

“We cannot comment on the settlement amounts other than to say that our clients are very satisfied with the results,” attorney Kevin Glasheen said in the statement. “The settlement gives them the security and comfort they will need while they try to rebuild their lives. They were treated very well.”

The remaining 17 plaintiffs have are still scheduled for trial on Jan. 26 in Midland, though Ector County 244th District Judge James Rush will preside over the case.

Those still in the lawsuit include the families of Gary Stouffer and Lawrence Boivin, both veterans who died in the wreck. Their attorneys include Steve Malouf, Charla Aldous, Jack Hill and Jim Mitchell.

The lawsuits against truck driver Dale Hayden, parade organizers Show of Support, and Smith Industries had already previously been settled.

 Pottroff said in the release that he’s dedicated his career to “holding railroads accountable for public safety,” and that it was an honor for him to fight for the veterans.

Four men died as a result of the train accident that struck about 4:35 p.m. Nov. 15, 2012, at South Garfield Street and West Industrial Avenue in Midland, with more than a dozen injured. The Hunt for Heroes parade float was crossing over the train intersection when a Union Pacific train collided with the float.

Hunt for Heroes is a charity event hosted by Show of Support in honor of wounded warriors. The people on the float were the wounded warriors with their wives, who were finishing a parade route before going on the annual hunting trip.

Lawsuits were filed in both Midland and Dallas — although they were later consolidated and moved back to Midland — accusing Union Pacific of negligence and gross negligence in 124 violations, including violations of its own policies, violations of its operating rules, signal equipment problems, improper training and failures of the train crew.

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