Congress pushing back on Amtrak forced arbitration policy

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief

Earlier this week, RT&S reported that the agreement with Amtrak that every passenger enters when they purchase a ticket now contains an arbitration clause that says, essentially, the passenger cannot sue the railroad for any quarrel it may have. To read last week’s story, click here.

Yesterday, a passenger aboard the Amtrak Cascades train that derailed south of Tacoma, Wash. on December 18, 2017, was awarded $4.5 million by a federal jury. According to the Northwest News Network, the award is for pain and suffering, along with potential disabilities in the future. Madeleine Garza, the injured passenger, suffered a broken pelvis and spinal injuries in the wreck.

According to Roll Call, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials is looking into the issue of Amtrak’s new policy around arbitration. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) said “Apparently, there is not anything to bar forced arbitration for an Amtrak passenger, so that is something we’re starting to look at legislatively.” According to Lipinski, House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) is also very interested in this issue.

RT&S will continue to follow and report on this story.

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