25 L’Enfant Plaza Smoke Incident Suits Dismissed

Twenty-five of over 100 suits against the District of Columbia and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority arising out of the L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident were dismissed last Thursday.

The incident occurred on January 12, 2015 when an electrical problem caused power cables to begin emitting large quantities of smoke inside a tunnel just south of L’Enfant Plaza station. A Yellow Line train full of commuters stalled in the tunnel and through a series of miscues, riders remained in the smoke for nearly thirty minutes before being evacuated. One passenger, Carol Glover, died from smoke inhalation and many others were injured.

Last January, the Metro sought to shift the blame for the injuries to the DC Fire Department. However, the Metro failed to follow its own safety procedures and delayed properly engaging the tunnel’s ventilation system.

All of the dismissals last week were voluntary and made at the request of the plaintiffs. That is an indication the suits were settled out of court. According to the Washington Post, most of the dismissed actions involved parties who were not among the more seriously injured. The wrongful death suit filed on behalf of Ms. Glover remains headed for trial.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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