Derby Couple Sues Metro-North for $10M Over Bridgeport Derailment

A woman injured last May when the Metro-North train she was riding home from a work conference in New York derailed and was struck by another train in Bridgeport is suing the railroad for $10 million.

Linda Pacelli, of Derby, filed the suit in U.S. District Court yesterday along with her husband. The lawsuit claims Metro-North’s negligence caused the derailment and collision, according to a copy of the document obtained by the New Haven Register.

Pacelli was one of 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor who were injured when the train derailed May 17 of last year and was struck by another train. She suffered a spinal fracture and required surgery and left her with lasting pain.

A Federal Railroad Administration investigation found a broken rail joint on section of the track where the derailment occurred. Metro-North inspectors reportedly found the broken joint two days before the derailment but said it didn’t pose a problem.

Pacelli and her husband Francesco, who was not on the train but claims loss of consortium, are requesting $10 million in damages for Pacelli’s medical care, surgery, physical therapy, medication and time away from work, according to the lawsuit.

An attorney representing the couple, Steven Errante, told NBC Connecticut, his client will never ride a train again because of the trauma. Even after surgery, he says Lina remains in pain and doctors expect it'll be that way for the rest of her life.

"Lina Pacelli got thrown very hard out of her seat, hit various people and poles, and ended up with a compression fracture of her back," said Errante.

Errante says that  incident scarred her for life.

"As she would tell you she is not the same person, can't do the same activities, is very concerned about any future accidents, falls, so forth," said Errante.

Lina's lawsuit states that the Bridgeport derailment and collision was caused by negilgence.

Errante says he'll file another lawsuit against the railroad on behalf of another Bridgeport passenger next week.
With the release of the FRA report, he expects the courts will see 20 to 30 similar suits regarding the Bridgeport derailment filed within the next month or two.

According to the Connecticut Post, this is the fourth lawsuit filed in relation to the Bridgeport derailment.

The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate.

A spokesperson for Metro-North said the railroad is aware of the lawsuit but could not comment on pending legislation.

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