Two women who were riding the G train that derailed just outside of the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station last month have filed a lawsuit against the City, blaming their injuries on an ongoing stalemate between the MTA and Mayor de Blasio over the transit authority's yawning $14 billion deficit.
While the city owns the subway tracks, a spokesman for the City's legal office stressed that the MTA would likely pay any damages for alleged negligence in track maintenance.
The News reports that Shonta McLeod, a 23-year-old student at LaGuardia Community College, and 34-year-old Nicole Knight, who was riding the train with her 3-day-old infant, are both asking for $2 million in damages.
According to the tabloid, Knight is alleging that her back slammed against her seat during the derailment, causing her neck to snap backwards. Her attorney told us that she is awaiting a final diagnosis of her injuries, but that some of them are "internal."
Another straphanger on the ill-fated G noted Knight's discomfort that night, telling us that "a woman with a Chipotle burrito-sized newborn baby was understandably upset, especially as it got hotter."
"We're suing because the maintenance that has not been done in these subway tunnels creates a danger for the customers of this city," said attorney Sanford Rubinstein in a statement. "The public should not be held hostage because of a feud between the MTA and City Hall."
The derailment took place around 10:30 p.m. on September 10th. According to authorities, the front axel of the train's front car went off of the tracks about 700 feet north of Hoyt-Schermerhorn.
The crash was later attributed to a crumbling, deteriorating wall in the tunnel, information that MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast highlighted in public remarks about what he deemed the City's refusal to pony up.
"Our 2015-19 Capital Program allocates $927.5 million for repairing and rebuilding subway line structures, including bench walls such as the one involved in last night’s derailment," he said in a statement. "I am tired of writing letters to City officials that result only in vague calls for more conversations."
MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg declined to comment on the ongoing case, but directed us to a line in Prendergast's statement that shoulders responsibility for the derailment—"Make no mistake: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is fully responsible for the safe and reliable operation of the New York region’s mass transit system, and an incident of this magnitude is unacceptable."
In response to the lawsuit, City spokesman Nick Paolucci said that the responsibility for funding the MTA lies not with Mayor de Blasio, but rather with the State.
"It's irresponsible to play politics with people's lives, and the State should not be recruiting surrogates to attack the City when such serious issues are at stakes," Paolucci said. "The City stands ready and willing to have a comprehensive conversation on the future of this vital State authority, and we look forward to understanding where the promised State funding will come from."