NEW YORK (CN) – A controversial lawyer who lobbied on behalf of victims, survivors and families of a deadly train fire in Kaprun, Austria, claims the Austrian government and companies responsible for the fire have launched a smear campaign to discredit him.
In his federal complaint, Edward Fagan claims relatives and survivors of the Nov. 11, 2000 fire that broke out on a railway car in a tunnel in Kaprun, Austria, and claimed 155 lives turned to him for help, in part because of his past work as an advocate for Holocaust victims.
Fagan says the Austrian government, along with the train and tunnel operators, owners and private insurers, tried to block his quest to get them to accept responsibility for the disaster, improve safety standards and compensate victims.
The defendants destroyed evidence, violated court orders, interfered with investigations and harassed and intimidated whistleblowers and “others who sought to expose the truth,” Fagan claims.
He says they deliberately released lies to the media, causing him to lose clients and be subjected to public ridicule. One of these reports falsely accused Fagan of having sex with a 17-year-old prostitute from Lithuania, the lawsuit claims.
Fagan also claims the defendants created settlement and release documents that allowed all lawyers to file for attorney fees, except Fagan and other U.S. lawyers.
Fagan was disqualified from dozens of complaints in August 2007, but has appealed that order.
Since his disqualification, he learned that the defendants entered into two settlements with his former clients, agreeing to pay $21.5 million to foreign victims, relatives and survivors, and $2.5 million to $5 million to U.S. Kaprun victims and their families.
Fagan claims he is entitled to $6 million for his legal work.