The engineer of the train that derailed near DuPont, Pierce County, in 2017 filed a lawsuit against Amtrak this week.
Steven Brown’s complaint alleges he wasn’t properly trained and technology that could have stopped the train hadn’t been installed Dec. 18, 2017, when the derailment of Amtrak Cascades 501 killed three people and injured dozens.
An Amtrak spokesperson declined to comment about the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court.
One of Brown’s attorneys, Fred Bremseth said, “He’s as much of a victim as anybody else. … He’s a great engineer, a great human being.”
The lawsuit says Brown wasn’t properly trained “on the controls and instrumentation on the Seimens Charger locomotive he was driving,” or on the Point Defiance Bypass route.
It was the first public run on the new, 10-minute-faster route from Seattle to Portland.
The lawsuit also notes that Positive Train Control, the technology that slows down trains that are going too fast, wasn’t installed on the train or the track at the time.
“Plaintiff suffered physical and emotional injuries as a result of the derailment,” it says.
Bremseth declined to say more Wednesday about his client’s injuries.
Brown’s allegations are similar to those made in a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report last year.
The safety board said Brown — who Amtrak hired in 2004 and promoted to engineer in 2013 — lost track of where he was on the route and was going more than twice the speed limit.
Amtrak should have trained the engineer better, and Positive Train Control should have been installed, the NTSB reported. It has since been put in place.
The NTSB also found Sound Transit should have better addressed the danger of the curve where the derailment happened, the state Department of Transportation should have made sure the route was safe, and the Federal Railroad Administration used substandard rail cars.
“The engineer was set up to fail,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at the time.
His lawsuit follows many filed by others on the train, some of whom were badly injured. There were 77 passengers and six crew members on board.
A jury awarded nearly $17 million to several plaintiffs in one case last year.
Soon after another woman’s lawsuit ended with a $4.5 million verdict.