Insurer says railroad allowed derailment in suit

By Steve Gonzalez | Apr 28, 2005

Westfield Insurance Group of Westfield Center, Ohio filed a suit against Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis seeking $78,188.42 in damages alleging Terminal Railroad negligently allowed train cars to derail.

According to the complaint filed April 27 in Madison County Circuit Court, Terminal was operating a nine-car train when the fifth car derailed at a switch which controlled two tracks. The incident occurred Nov. 26, 2002, near 16th Street in Granite City.

Westfield claims that after the derailment, five rail cars ran uncontrollably at 15 miles per hour into a building owned by Lilley Warehousing, a client of Westfield.

“Terminal has a duty to keep a lookout for derailments or events that can cause derailments, but despite this duty, negligently allowed the switch to be engaged and its train cars to derail,” the complaint states.

Westfield claims the Lilley building suffered damage in the amount of $71,151.42 and in accordance with the policy of insurance paid $7,037 to remove the rail cars from the building and place them back on tracks.

“Derailments as the one described do not ordinarily occur absent negligence in the operation of rail cars over and through intersection switches," the complaint states.

Westfield is asking for a judgment in its favor for all expenses they have paid plus all costs of the suit and any other relief the court deems just and proper.

Westfield is represented by Allison Bell of Quinn, Johnston, Henderson & Pretorius of Peoria.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel J. Stack.

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