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August 02, 2015

Another wrongful death lawsuit filed against Amtrak

Tech CEO Rachel Jacobs and seven others died in May derailment in Port Richmond

Amtrak Lawsuits
Rachel Jacobs Rachel Jacobs/Via

Rachel Jacobs, chief executive officer of ApprenNet, was among eight people who died in the May Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia.

The family of Rachel Jacobs, the 39-year-old mother and CEO who was killed in May’s Amtrak derailment, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday, the Philadelphia law firm Kline and Specter announced.

Jacobs was one of eight people who died in the crash, which also injured more than 200. She had become CEO of the Philadelphia educational technology company ApprenNet the month before her death and left behind a husband and a two-year-old son.

"The Philadelphia business community lost a bright star in this terrible and avoidable tragedy," said lawyer Tom Kline in a statement on the firm’s Facebook page.

The suit accuses Amtrak of “willful, wanton and reckless disregard for the safety of its passengers." Kline’s firm is also representing the family of another victim who died, Maryland executive Robert Gildersleeve Jr., Law360 reported.

On July 10, Amtrak admitted liability in the first two lawsuits brought by passengers, admitting that the train was "traveling in excess of the allowable speed" when it derailed.

By law, the railway’s liability is capped at $200 million. Sen. Cory Booker has co-sponsored legislation that would raise the liability limit to $295 million and index it to inflation, the New York Times reported.

Jacobs was a native of Detroit and co-founded Detroit Nation, a non-profit devoted to economic development in her hometown. She was an alumnus of Swarthmore College and the Columbia Business School.

Columbia has created a scholarship in her name to support female entrepreneurs and Detroit Nation is taking donations in her memory. Learn more about donating here.