NEW YORK – An engineer who fell asleep at the controls of a Metro-North train and caused a derailment that killed four people in New York City sued the railroad Thursday, saying its negligence and carelessness led to the accident.
William Rockefeller is seeking $10 million in the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, saying he suffers from multiple injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of the Dec. 1, 2013, derailment. Besides the deaths, more than 70 people were injured.
Through a spokesman, Metro-North said it does not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit called Metro-North negligent and careless for failing to provide Rockefeller with a safe workplace and it blamed the railroad for increasing hazards by failing to install automatic brakes. It also said Metro-North relied on a deficient safety culture because it "prizes on-time performance at the expense of protecting riders and workers."
The accident occurred in the Bronx as the commuter train went around a curve at about 82 mph. The speed limit on the turn was 30 mph.
The National Transportation Safety Board later determined that Rockefeller suffered from an undiagnosed sleep disorder and had nodded off.
Prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against Rockefeller.
The lawsuit said he will continue to suffer lost wages and benefits along with pain, suffering, mental anguish and depression.