LA County Sued Hyundai Rotem for Metrolink Train Derailment

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The Los Angeles County has filed a lawsuit based on its claim that the Metrolink train derailment in February 2015 was caused over Hyundai Rotem’s technical defect.

Following the fiery accident last year, which killed one and hospitalized 30 passengers, the L.A. County initially said that “thanks to durability of the train that was made by Hyundai Rotem,” more passengers were saved by the crash, which is in contrast to its newest claim in the lawsuit.

Although the amount of the lawsuit remains unknown, the county has apparently sued Hyundai Rotem over failure to meet contractual obligations and warranty violation.

The county government claims that four of the five areas on a wheel guard were defects, and were responsible for the accident which occurred last year on Feb. 24 in Oxnard. The wheel guard is the steel bar located in the front of the train that is designed to prevent objects from hindering the wheels.

According to the lawsuit, the L.A. County is claiming that the wheel guard did not function properly at the time of the accident and was left vulnerable when the truck crashed into the train. At the time of the accident, 48 passengers were on board along with three train attendants. Engineer Glen Steele died while 33 passengers were injured.

Immediately following the accident, L.A. Metro board of director Richard Katz said, “Hyundai’s certified energy management system saved the lives of the passengers. The accident could have been a lot worse.”

However, the county’s recent lawsuit contradicts its earlier acknowledgement. “In almost all components made by Hyundai Rotem, there were similar defects,” the county’s claim read. “The defects aren’t visible to the eye, so it was impossible to identify the problem until the crash actually happened.”

The county also emphasized that Hyundai Rotem did not meet the deadlines when distributing the components. Hyundai Rotem won the auction to sign the contract with the L.A. County in 2005. Although the initial deal between the two sides was for Hyundai Rotem to build 34 trains and 54 passenger rooms for $36 million, the contract later changed to simply distributing 57 trains.

“As the distribution date continued to get postponed, we received the last train car in April 2014,” said the county.

Also, the county government claimed that it has made a request to Hyundai Rotem in September of last year to respond to the defects on the train.

“Hyundai has been delaying its response and has dismissed our claim,” said the county. “Hyundai is failing to grasp that its defects created a serious problem.”

By Koo hyun Chung