Brother Of Bartender Dragged To His Death By Manhattan Bound Train Accuses MTA Of ‘Negligence,’ Sues for $20 Million

The brother of Edward Leonard, 51, a bartender at the Cambria hotel in Manhattan who got wedged between the doors of a train bound for Manhattan, New York, and dragged to his death at the Kew Gardens Turnpike station a day after Valentine’s Day, has filed a lawsuit in Queens against the MTA for $20 million on Wednesday, the New York Post is reporting.

Christopher Leonard’s attorney, Frank Andrea, said the agency was careless when it allowed passenger Edward Leonard get stuck in between closed doors.

“The MTA and New York City Transit didn’t follow procedure to make sure all passengers were free of the doors and not stuck in between the doors. Our investigation shows that they failed and were negligent to make sure all the doors were clear. Edward Leonard had multiple traumas as he was hitting fixtures going down the platform as he was stuck in the door.”

Leonard was trying to get on the train at 6:45 p.m. when he was pulled along the platform as the train left the station, according to a New York Post report from the time. Witnesses said he was pulled more than 60 feet and that a piece of Leonard’s clothing was caught in the doors as they closed. He was frantically banging on the door before he was flung on the platform.

Edward Leonard MTA
A New York City subway platform. [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Bernice Maitland, 61, who saw everything while she was getting off the train as Leonard was trying to board, said, “The driver was not aware he was stuck and did not stop until he had been dragged 60 feet. The man was still breathing as I saw him on the platform.”

Leonard suffered blunt-force trauma and was treated by medics at the scene. He was later pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

This is not the first time someone has sued the MTA. In 2015, Aglisberto Ortega sued the Metropolitan Transportation, saying he had “sustained severe nervous shock and mental anguish” when he fell off a Lorimer Street station platform in Williamsburg around 4:40 a.m. Ortega said the train operator, Randy Nicoletti, and his crew members had ample time to apply their brakes but still struck him while he was on the railroad tracks, according to Gothamist.

Edward Leonard MTA
An MTA Train [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

An ex-NYPD officer, Arthur Lomando, wanted for killing his ex-girlfriend Suzanne Bardzell with a machete, also sued the MTA for $50 million, when he was struck by a train and lost both legs. Reports say Lomando was awaiting trial and planned to kill himself by throwing himself in front of a train at the Washington Heights subway station.

“He stated that he didn’t jump in front of the train, but due to his injuries, he has no recollection of what happened. So we mentioned four things that could have happened—he was jostled on a crowded platform, he slipped on something, debris fell on him or the train conductor should have been able to stop in time,” his attorney, Andrea Plasse, said.

Plasse insisted that his client was not trying to kill himself and was only going to the Penn Station to catch a train to his residence.

Lomando, an NYPD officer for 10 years, was accused of fatally stabbing Bardzell as she pulled into her driveway 3:30 p.m. in Midland Park, New Jersey. Lomando had allegedly broken her window and attacked her with a machete. He was headed back to the city when he had the train accident around 4:30 p.m. He had been fired from his police post in 2004 for mental health complications, and Bardzell had a restraining order against him for repeated acts of domestic violence over a three-year relationship. Lomando had both legs amputated and suffered a skull fracture, leaving him with no memory of the mishap.

[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

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