Meyers & Flowers train settlement statement
The settlement for the Lac-Mégantic train derailment was announced today, proposing a payment totaling $77.2 million. We will be closely reviewing this settlement in detail to determine whether these defendants are paying sufficient funds and whether these funds are properly allocated to the victims.
However, as we begin the process of evaluating the proposed settlement, we must stay focused on the most important piece of this legal process—the victims and their families. Our main focus has been to first ensure that the victims are fully compensated so that they can begin to recover after their tragic losses. There are 48 lives lost, families destroyed, and a town demolished by this oil train derailment in Lac-Mégantic. We remain alone and steadfast in continuing to try to increase the compensation paid to those who suffered from these 48 wrongful deaths.
Sometimes that focus is blurred, and the interests of the families who have lost loved ones are treated as trifling matters compared to large monetary claims made other parties, such as the Province of Quebec for reimbursement of costs to clean up oil spilled in the disaster. The Province's claim for alleged clean-up costs, together with the many other claims and interests the bankruptcy trustee is trying to balance always must remain a secondary concern. We will continue to resist efforts to divert the focus and money away from victims to ensure, as it always should be, that victims receive every penny to which they are entitled. The proper focus must remain on the families who have suffered the loss of human life and must not be diverted to overcompensate claims alleging temporary inconvenience.
As we approach the second anniversary of this disaster, we must not forget the value of these lives and the ripple effect of despair that their deaths have left behind. A two-year little girl is now orphaned and will never know her parents killed in the oil train derailment. A mother is forced to live on without her young rising star daughter. And a father debilitated by grief still hears the echo of his son’s voice screaming for help from the night that Lac-Mégantic turned into an oil inferno. These are just a few of the survivors.
Under Canadian law only, compensation would have been extremely limited, and thus we became involved to bring American companies to the settlement table in order to increase the fund for the survivors of this tragedy. In order to make sure this never happens again, the companies responsible for the train derailment must be held accountable for their actions. Sometimes they only make the necessary changes when they experience financial hardships. We are disappointed that this settlement does not include World Fuel, one of the largest contributors to this tragedy. We will continue to pursue them and other companies in Illinois or any other state necessary to bring all of those responsible for this disaster to justice.