Parents of Rockaway victim in May Amtrak derailment file lawsuit: reports

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The family of Justin Zemser, the 20-year-old naval midshipman from Rockaway Beach who was killed during the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia this past May, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday.

According to published reports, parents Susan and Howard Zemser are seeking unspecified damages and are promising to start a scholarship fund in their son’s honor with the compensation they may receive from Amtrak.

Zemser, who was on leave as a cadet at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, was on his way home to visit family in Rockaway while on board the doomed Amtrak train that went off track on May 12. He was one of seven killed during the incident, which also injured more than 200 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board previously confirmed that Amtrak train 188 was traveling at more than 100 mph, double the speed, as it was entering a sharp curve before derailing. Before entering the curve, the speed limit is reportedly 70 mph.

The family’s lawyer, Thomas Moore, said in a statement according to reports that this “was an accident waiting to happen” because Amtrak allegedly failed to follow through with a proposal from Congress in 2008 to install safety equipment that automatically slows down speeding trains.