Civil lawsuits in the 2015 Amtrak derailment get consolidated

 Attorneys Robert J. Mongeluzzi (left) and Tom Kline,  represent 29 of the more than 200 passengers injured and killed in the Amtrak derailment in North Philadelphia last May. All 188 cases filed have been consolidated in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Attorneys Robert J. Mongeluzzi (left) and Tom Kline, represent 29 of the more than 200 passengers injured and killed in the Amtrak derailment in North Philadelphia last May. All 188 cases filed have been consolidated in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Dozens of new lawsuits filed by victims of the fatal Amtrak train 188 derailment in Philadelphia have been added to a consolidated case in federal court.

Legal fights over award amounts will soon start, eight months after the deadly incident.

The additional civil cases are being added to a docket that already contains more than 60 that one federal judge will preside over.

“Amtrak has acknowledged liability,” said New York-based attorney Eric Baum, who is representing one of the plaintiffs in the consolidated case. “My understanding now is that the remaining component of the case is to determine how much each injured plaintiff should receive.”

In December, Congress passed a highway bill that raised the cap on damages for the case from $200 million to $295 million.

Federal investigators on Monday released a trove of documents about the derailment that killed eight and injured 200.

It included interview transcripts and raw data from the train’s black box.

Responding to the release, plaintiff attorney Bob Mongeluzzi said at a press conference that there appears to be inconsistencies in statements engineer Brandon Bostian gave investigators and others about what he remembers right before the accident. That, Mongeluzzi said, is concerning.

The more than 2,000-page report, which did not make any conclusions about the derailment but instead detailed raw data, does not provide solace to victims, Mongeluzzi said.

“Nowhere is there any justification for Brandon Bostian’s reckless decision to accelerate to 106 mph in a curve,” he said. “We believe that his inconsistent story speaks volumes about him and his credibility and believability at trial.”

An attorney for Brandon Bostian has said that because of a concussion sustained in the derailment, Bostian has a sketchy recollection of the event.

A full report with an analysis of the incident is expected in the spring.

Reporter Erin Edinger-Turoff contributed to this report.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.