Alvarez was sentenced last year in criminal court to serve 11 consecutive life sentences in prison after he was convicted in June for causing the deadly train derailment.
Survivors of the crash and family members of the deceased filed a wrongful-death and personal-injury lawsuit against Metrolink after the crash.
Elias, in denying Metrolink’s motion Monday, said the rail agency’s attorneys failed to address the cause of the train derailment in their arguments.
“I don’t know how to derail a train,” she said. “I don’t know what it takes to derail a train.”
Attorney Jerome Ringler, who represents the victims, said Metrolink officials had to know that when Alvarez parked his car on the train tracks, a crash would occur. Metrolink had 200 car-train accidents over about a decade, he said.
The ruling Monday was the latest in a string of developments leading up to what is expected to be an arduous civil trial. It was originally scheduled for this summer, but attorneys continue to wrangle over pretrial motions.
Earlier this year, a state appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs couldn’t argue that Metrolink’s practice of pushing cars with an engine at the rear was negligent. Attorneys had argued that the pushing mode left the front cars vulnerable to being pried off the tracks when hitting obstacles, and so was inherently unsafe.
In January, Ringler and other defense team members claimed they had irrefutable proof that the train’s engineer could have prevented the crash if prescribed emergency braking procedures had been followed.
Human error is also a main point of contention following the September head-on Metrolink train collision crash in Chatsworth that killed 25 people and injured 135.
At least a half-dozen civil lawsuits have been filed against Metrolink for the crash.