Amtrak engineer’s address can remain private

Amtrak engineer’s address can remain private

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Brandon Bostian, the engineer involved in a fatal train derailment in Philadelphia, isn’t required to publicly disclose his home address in a lawsuit against Amtrak, a judge has ruled.

In a one-page order docketed March 10, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New said Bostian’s attorneys must convey Bostian’s address to Amtrak’s attorneys. But the judge stopped short of ordering that Bostian’s address be publicly disclosed in court papers.

The judge said Bostian’s attorneys must comply with his order by March 20.

In prior court pleadings, Amtrak argued that Bostian was required to disclose his complete home address in publicly accessible court papers for his case to move forward.

Neither side had a comment for this story.

Bostian, who is gay, filed suit against Amtrak in January, claiming the passenger railroad service failed to ensure a safe work environment for him.

In court papers, Bostian disclosed that he lives in Boston, but he declined to publicly disclose additional details.

Bostian’s attorneys stressed their client’s need for privacy.

“Were the court to require Mr. Bostian to disclose his address on a pleading, Mr. Bostian could be subjected to constant harassment, threats and encroachment of his personal solitude,” they wrote in a March 1 pleading.

Bostian’s attorneys added that he’s already been subjected to “online harassment and social-media attacks. He has been threatened by individuals hiding under the anonymity of social media. It is not a stretch that someone would use Mr. Bostian’s personal home address for sinister purposes.”

On May 12, 2015, an Amtrak train operated by Bostian derailed on the Frankford Junction curve in Port Richmond, killing eight people and wounding more than 50.

The train was traveling 106 mph as it approached the curve, though the posted speed limit was 50 mph, according to federal investigators.

Bostian’s suit claims his train was “under attack” by projectiles prior to the derailment.

“While operating a train that was under attack by projectiles, one of which caused [Bostian] to become disoriented — and/or unconscious — [Bostian] was caused to sustain injuries due to the negligence and carelessness of [Amtrak],” according to Bostian’s suit.

Federal investigators say Bostian was distracted by radio transmissions about a nearby SEPTA train being hit by a rock.

Bostian suffered “severe, permanent and painful personal injuries” due to the incident, including a traumatic head injury, according to his suit.

Bostian seeks more than $50,000 in damages. A jury trial has been requested.

No criminal charges have been filed against Bostian.

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