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Victims Identified in Railroad Bridge Collapse, Judge Halts Clean-up Work to Preserve Evidence

(Northbrook, Illinois – July 6, 2012)

Following the Friday identification of the victims of the Union Pacific coal train derailment which collapsed a railroad overpass onto Shermer Avenue at the border of Glenview and Northbrook, IL July 4, an attorney and friend of the couple obtained a restraining order halting clean-up operations in order to preserve evidence at the site where 31 cars of a 138-car coal train left the tracks and piled up on the bridge.

Successful and popular Chicago attorney Burton Lindner, 69, and his wife, Zorine Lidner, 70, a retired high school guidance counselor, were crushed to death and not discovered for nearly 24 hours after the tragedy. The couple, who lived only about a block away from the bridge, were on their way to enjoy the Independence Day holiday with dinner, a movie, and a visit to a botanical garden, as their grown children, one of whom was a law partner in his father’s law practice, and adored grandchildren, were out of town for the holiday.

The suit was filed by family friend and former law partner Michael LaMonica, who had been concerned over the lack of communication from Lindner due to the proximity of the couple’s residence to the scene of the train crash. Cook County Judge William Maddox issued the restraining order Friday morning, and LaMonica’s law partner Erron Fisher delivered the order to halt work at 1:25 P.M. Friday afternoon.

The lawsuit charges that Union Pacific “failed to properly build and repair its tracks near the viaduct and failed to take notice of ‘dangerous and unsafe operating conditions’, and also alleges that the railroad “negligently conducted” an inadequate inspection of the track when it claimed to have inspected the rail route the day of the tragedy.

“We want to prevent Union Pacific from manipulating more evidence here at the scene,” said LaMonica.