Get up-to-date information about the Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, train derailment disaster. For more information, please contact our office at 630-232-6333 or 877-221-2511. You can also reach our office by emailing .
October 2015Meyers & Flowers to sue Canadian Pacific on behalf of the Victims of the Lac-Megantic Train Derailment
Peter J. Flowers, Meyers & Flowers’ partner and lawyer for the families of 41 of the 47 victims of the Lac-Megantic train derailment, recently spoke to the Associated Press and members of the U.S. and Canadian media regarding the latest settlement news and Canadian Pacific’s ongoing refusal to contribute to the victim’s settlement fund.
January 2015MMA Railway Settlement Announcement - $200 Million for Lac-Mégantic Train Derailment Disaster Victims
CHICAGO— In accordance with a draft Plan of Compromise and Arrangement filed with the Quebec Superior Court today in the CCAA case for Montreal Maine and Atlantic Canada Co. (MMAC), nearly $200 million in settlement funds will be distributed to the victims of the Lac-Mégantic, Quebec train derailment disaster that occurred on July 6, 2013. According to the trustee for Montreal Maine and Atlantic Canada Ltd. (MMA), MMAC’s U.S. parent company, a similar plan will soon be filed in the MMA chapter 11 case. In addition, the parties continue to pursue additional settlements with parties who are not yet contributors, failing which litigation will continue against those parties, with the goal of materially increasing the settlement fund.
July 2014One Year Later, Lac-Mégantic Families Continue to Seek Justice for Victims of the Train Derailment
As the one-year anniversary of the tragic train derailment passes, downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec reverberates with construction noise from cranes and cement trucks as new buildings rise from the ashes of the devastating July 6, 2013 disaster. In the midst of Lac-Mégantic's rebuilding efforts, the families of 41 victims represented by Meyers & Flowers law firm continue their fight to hold the authorities responsible for the accident.
May 2014Four Lac-Mégantic issues that still need to be resolved
Peter Flowers, a lawyer who represents 41 families affected by the tragedy in a lawsuit against MM&A railway and other companies, said he views the criminal charges as good news.Holding companies responsible
Peter Flowers, attorney for Lac-Mégantic residents, on which companies they have launched a lawsuit against.Criminal Charges Filed Against Train Operators
Peter Flowers, a lawyer representing 41 families and residents in a civil suit against MM&A Railway, says the charges are a sign of progress.Men Charged in Quebec Railway Disaster in Court
Three railway employees arrested in the runaway oil train explosion that killed 47 people were arraigned and released on bail Tuesday.
October 2013Meyers & Flowers Gives Presentation on Lac Mégantic Train Disaster to Canadian Transportation Convention
On July 6, 2013, unimaginable explosions and fires killed 47 people in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, Canada after a train derailed and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the streets.
July 2013Meyers & Flowers File First U.S. Case in Quebec Train Derailment
The estate of a Quebec man killed this month in a train derailment in that Canadian province filed a lawsuit Monday in Cook County alleging negligence by a local businessman and his company, which is affiliated with the railroad in the accident.Lawsuit filed in U.S. court by Meyers & Flowers over Quebec rail disaster, first of many
Victims of the Quebec railway disaster have launched further legal action against companies linked to the derailment that obliterated their town -- and one lawyer insists the multimillion-dollar cascade has only begun.
Stories about the Victims
At 1:30 in the morning on Saturday, July 6th, Ginette Cameron woke up startled as she had not heard her daughter, Geneviève Breton, 28, come home the night before from the Musi Café in nearby Lac-Mégantic, a lakeside resort town in Quebec. Ginette rose to check her daughter's bedroom. The bed was empty. She called Geneviève's cell phone. No answer. She sent her a text. Silence still.
Just 15 minutes before, at a quarter after 1 a.m., an unmanned oil train derailed setting off explosions and four feet walls of fire ignited by more than 11,300 tons of steel and oil crashing into downtown Lac-Mégantic. The ghost train, as it has been infamously called, was transporting crude oil on the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway from North Dakota. The oil was more explosive than labeled, so there was only one train operator, not two, operating the train, as regulations would have deemed safe for transporting that particular oil.
At 3:30 a.m., the phone rang. "Did Geneviève make it home," the voice of Geneviève's friend asked Ginette. "There is a fire in Lac-Mégantic."
Ginette turned on the TV and listened to the radio, but there was no news of the fire. More calls came in. One friend reported, Geneviève was just leaving the Musi Café at 1 a.m. but ran back inside to grab a bottle of water for the drive home.
Geneviève loved music. She had stayed until the band finished their final song just before 1 a.m. Geneviève is a local celebrity, as she had been a finalist on Star Académie, the equivalent of American Idol in Canada. At 24 years old, she sang the song "Hero" by Mariah Carey on the show. The host of the show asked if Geneviève was more nervous to sing in front of millions of people or her parents in the audience. Geneviève answered, "My parents, they are the people, I least want to disappoint." As long as Ginette can remember, Geneviève would fill their home with song. At just three years old, she would sing and swing happily in the backyard. Ginette accompanied her to every singing contest and performance. They were not just mother and daughter. They were friends.
Just before noon on the day before the train crash, Geneviève whisked around the kitchen making her mother lunch before going to work at the jewelry store across from the Musi Café. She excitedly talked about the song she had recorded just a few days before. Geneviève had returned home to care for her mother after a surgery. She had been working on her bachelor's degree at the University of Sherbrook to become an elementary school teacher. While at home, Geneviève had written and recorded her first song. She was finally realizing her dream of releasing her first single album in November.
After fielding so many calls from Geneviève's friends on the morning of the tragedy, at 5 a.m., Ginette woke her husband, Réal Breton, to suggest that he go into Lac-Mégantic to find Geneviève. Upon arrival, he was aghast. The entire town was an inferno. He visited the high school as folks were evacuated there, then the hospital. But no one was there. No burn reports.
By noon, at the crisis center, the Red Cross and local police suggested that Réal and his wife file a missing person for their daughter. Ginette and Réal spent three hours with the police. They had to describe their daughter from head to toe and any distinguishing characteristic on her body. They had to show pictures. Then they returned home to wait with Geneviève's twin brother, Sébastien, 28, older brother, Jonathan, 32, his wife Karine, and Lauralie, their two-year-old daughter.
"We were in shock, it was very difficult for her brothers to deal with this unacceptable horror, I could feel their deep sadness in grappling with the fact that their sister was missing," Ginette said.
The following day, the inspectors came to their home to collect Geneviève's hairbrush and toothbrush, so they could test her DNA. Ginette recalls speaking to the inspectors and saying,
"I just hope she is somewhere else, you know miracles can happen, Geneviève was fast, she always could get herself out of trouble."
The inspector looked Ginette in the eyes and said very coldly, " Madame, I don't want you to have any hope. No one made it out of the Musi Café."
On Monday morning, Ginette drove to Geneviève's apartment in Sherbrook with hopes that maybe she was there, and her phone wasn't working. It was empty, very empty.
"That's when I began to think it's true, she is really at the Musi Café," Ginette said.
Day after day, Ginette and Réal, went to Lac-Mégantic at 4 p.m. to have a meeting with the other families and inspectors involved in the search of the missing. The rescue workers could not get close to the Musi Café, because the burning oil was so hot and dangerous.
On July 13th, when the inspectors arrived at their home, Ginette knew. She and her husband lived their worse nightmare. Geneviève was identified. As the news sank in slow motion, Ginette felt her home turn silent and lifeless, no longer filled with Geneviève's spirit and song.
The inspectors said, a brick wall at the Musi Café had protected some of the bodies from being incinerated in the flames, and they still had others to identify, so they could not release Geneviève's body to her family. Three months passed before they could lay their daughter to rest. Ginette has not been able to return to work as a nurse. Just getting up in the morning has become a chore. Her husband had semi-retired, now he is working long, tireless hours, as he struggles to live on without his only daughter.
"If she could come back, I would be willing to give my life for her to live and finish her dreams," Ginette cried. "She was so ambitious, very talented, full of life, a real sunshine for everyone who knew her. Geneviève had voice of an angel that was a gift to us all."
More than 1,000 family, friends and fans gathered for Geneviève's funeral in October.
"It's not fair," Ginette said. "This is human error. They should have had two drivers on that train. It was all for money, 47 lives, for money. They stole her life, her career, all her dreams and our family. My heart is broken forever. Life will never be the same without Geneviève. I don't think we will ever get over this. It is a nightmare that should never have happened."
Jimmy Sirois and Marie-Semie Alliance
At dawn on July 6, 2013, Michel Sirois, 57, and Sue Nadeau, 52, turned on the television to see their son's home engulfed in flames. An unmanned 72-car train carrying thousands of gallons of crude oil derailed and exploded in the heart of downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada.
Their son, Jimmy Sirois, 30, and his fiancé Marie Semie Alliance, 23, lived with their one-half year old daughter, Milliana, in a third floor apartment on the lake front just 50 feet away from the railroad tracks. The ghost train, as it has come to be called of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA), was transporting oil from North Dakota to Montreal when it barreled into Lac-Mégantic at a quarter after one in the morning.
Michel dialed his son's cell phone but no answer. Sue and Michel jumped in the car and raced from their home in Lambton. As they approached the lakeside resort village of Lac-Mégantic, it felt as though they had descended on Armageddon. The once fresh forest air in this quaint town was thick with oil and plumes of smoke as the sun began to rise.
"It was like the end of the world," Sue said. "The whole downtown was in flames. We kept trying to call Jimmy's phone, but no answer, just his voicemail came on."
Michel recalled the last time he saw his son a week before. Jimmy stood 6'3 and was like a big teddy bear. He came over that morning to visit his father on Friday, as was their ritual. In their last conversation, Jimmy said,
"I love that girl, I never thought I could love someone so much. Marie and Milliana are the best things that could have ever happen in my life."
Then he bent over to kiss his father on the head and he said to him in English "I love you, Dad." Jimmy walked out the front door to go work at Lambton Doors Factory in town, where he worked a factory operator with Sue.
Michel was determined to find his son. He met Roger Sirois, 26, Jimmy's younger brother, and together they searched every crisis center set up in Lac-Mégantic from the high school to the playground to the parking lot of Canadian Tire. People wandered aimlessly in shock and in search of loved ones. Some had just escaped the flames.
Michel asked everyone if they had seen Jimmy and his family. Lac-Mégantic is a tight knit village of around 4,600 people. Everybody knows each other. Jimmy grew up in town and Marie-Semie, a Haiti native who moved to Montreal about 13 years before, worked at a local elderly home. Jimmy, Marie and Milliana were well known, yet no one had seen them. Michel left his name and the names of Jimmy and his family with a message to call his cell phone at each crisis center.
Michel and Sue received word from Jimmy's mother that she had been at Jimmy's the night before and invited the family to stay at her air conditioned home because the sweltering heat made their apartment unbearable to sleep in. Jimmy had to work in the morning, so he and Marie stayed. Milliana spent the night at her grandmother's home. Milliana survived the train crash.
After a week and half, Sue and Michel visited what was left of the apartment. They learned that when the train crashed, thousands of gallons of oil poured out of the tanks sparking four-foot waves of flames and explosions to incinerate the buildings and anyone within. Unfortunately, the classification of the petroleum was labeled as less explosive than it was in reality, which meant the oil train was operated with improper safety regulations.
Though they understood that more than likely Jimmy and Marie did not survive the waves of flames and explosions, Michel continued searching outlying areas around the apartment for days, with hopes Jimmy could still be alive.
"I kept feeling like he was somewhere out there, still alive but trapped, and he needed me," he said.
Then on July 16, 10 days after the train explosion, Michel was driving his truck on his regular route for work when he received a voice message on his cell phone. It came from an unidentified number. He played the message and put the phone to his ear. He could hear heavy breathing, and then "I love you," followed by an explosion and then one more explosion and then screaming.
"My son is calling for help, he is stuck somewhere, and I cannot help him," Michel cried.
Michel tried to have the message traced and he continued the search to no avail. The days turned into weeks. In August, Marie-Semie's family received news that she had been identified, but the lab would keep her remains to continue searching for fragments of Jimmy.
"When Marie's family received her remains, we began to lose hope that we would ever find Jimmy," Sue said. "Some days, we're in denial, just hoping one day he'll just walk through the front door."
Since Milliana, now two years old, survived her parents, Michel and Sue have sought legal help from Meyers & Flowers, a law firm in Chicago, to seek compensation for their granddaughter, who is now an orphan and has a whole life ahead of her.
Today, some seven months after the crash, no trace of Jimmy or his remains have been found.
In that way, Michel, Sue and their family, cannot lay Jimmy to rest.