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Families of 2 killed in derailment mull lawsuit

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Local,Maryland

BALTIMORE (AP) — A day after federal officials released investigative documents about a fatal Maryland train derailment, the parents of two 19-year-old women who were killed in the incident criticized CSX Corporation and federal transportation officials and said they are considering a lawsuit against the railroad.

On August 21, 2012, a CSX Corporation freight train derailed in Ellicott City. Twenty-one of the 80 rail cars overturned, spilling the train's load of coal onto a bridge where Rose Mayr and Elizabeth Nass were sitting.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the accident. On Monday, the NTSB released more than 1,000 pages of investigative documents that revealed a broken track near the point of the derailment.

The Mayr and Nass families issued written statements Tuesday blaming CSX for their daughters' deaths.

Mark Mayr said he is "appalled at the lack of engineering rigor that goes into maintenance decisions."

Elizabeth Nass' mother, Sue Nass, said, "our daughters did not cause the derailment, CSX did. A rail car should not turn over and kill innocent people."

The Mayr and Nass families also criticized NTSB for deciding not to hold a full board meeting to discuss the details of the accident and investigation.

Ronald Goldman, senior partner at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman law firm, said on Tuesday that he is working with the Mayr and Nass families, and unless CSX accepts full responsibility for causing the train derailment they "absolutely" intend to pursue legal action.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle would not comment on the damaged track or the statements from the Nass and Mayr families, but he said in a written statement that the company has "conducted broad efforts to raise awareness about the potential dangers of rail crossings and property."

"Safety is a core value at CSX," the statement said, "and we are committed to preventing injuries and accidents in every aspect of our operation."

According to the NTSB documents, a rail inspector told investigators that the stretch of the track in Ellicott City was scheduled for replacement, and that some portions of track were in need of maintenance.

Goldman said Tuesday a lawsuit could come before the NTSB issues its probable cause determination in the coming months. Goldman said the family will likely seek a settlement, and a public apology from CSX.

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