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Thursday
Aug012013

Twelve Wrongful Death Suits Filed in Quebec Train Crash

François Laplante-Delagrave/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago law firm has filed 12 wrongful death suits on behalf of Canadian victims who died in the Quebec train crash earlier this month, court documents show.

Meyers and Flowers filed the suits in Chicago's Cook County Court, claiming wrongful death and negligence.

Peter Flowers, a partner at the firm, told ABC News he expects to have 30 cases filed by next week.

Fourty-seven people were killed in the July 6 crash, which took place in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, 155 miles east of Montreal.

Flowers said his firm has spoken with the families of the 17 other victims, but the families have not officially hired the firm.

There are 11 defendents in the case, including Rail World Inc., the transport holding company that owned the freight train that derailed, and its CEO, Edward Burkhardt.

Amid the derailment, the entire town of Lac-Megantic was evacuated and more than 30 buildings were destroyed.  The complaints described the derailment as an incident that turned a "picturesque community into a scene from a war zone."

Burkhardt subsequently blamed the train's engineer, who he said had failed to properly set the brakes.

"In the years I've been a practicing lawyer, this is one of the saddest stories of people I've ever seen," said Flowers.

He said he intends to seek millions of dollars in damages for his clients.

According to the documents, the plaintiffs are each seeking damages at a minimum of $1 million for each count of wrongful death.

Burkhardt declined to comment.

Although the victims being represented by the firm are all Canadian, Rail World, Inc., is based in Cook County, Ill., which is why Flowers said he chose to file suit in the United States.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio