First Amtrak Crash Lawsuit Filed in Nevada

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 30, 2011 9:46 AM

Alexandra Curtis, an attendant on the train involved in last week's deadly Nevada Amtrak crash, has launched what it sure to become a barrage of lawsuits against truck driver Lawrence Valli and his employer, John Davis Trucking Co.

The lawsuit, which seeks $10,000 in general damages and undetermined medical costs, alleges that Valli negligently failed to heed the warnings at the train crossing.

Given his driving record, this allegation may not be so far off the mark.

At this point, it's unclear what caused Lawrence Valli to crash into the Amtrak train, as a video mounted on top of the train shows that the warning lights at the crossing point were working.

Investigators, however, point out that he was driving "at a considerable speed," reports the Associated Press.

This seems to be consistent with Valli's driving record, which the AP reports includes a series of speeding tickets, cell phone usage, and carrying too long a load.

In other words, he doesn't appear to have been a very safe driver before the Nevada Amtrak crash.

Whether or not Valli is found to be negligent, his employer may still be on the hook for his actions.

An employer can be held responsible for the non-tortious acts of an employee if they didn't exercise the proper care in hiring. In particular, this occurs when hiring a person that one would expect to pose a threat to others as a result of his job duties.

It's arguable that John Davis Trucking shouldn't have put Lawrence Valli on the road given his dangerous driving history. Doing so put the public at great risk.

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