Can this trip be saved? They lost my great-grandmother’s luggage, and I want it back

Adelle Gloger’s luggage claim may be the strangest case that’s crossed my desk. Ever.

Not only does it involve a railroad (I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a lost-luggage complaint from Amtrak). This one is also more than a century old.

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That’s right. One hundred years.

The victim: her great-grandmother, Ida Strakofsky.

Grandma Strakofsky immigrated from Latvia to America in June, 1907, arriving at the port of Philadelphia. Then she boarded a Pennsylvania Railroad train to Cleveland.

Upon arrival she went to claim her baggage — all of her worldly possessions — and was told that it had not arrived.

She was asked to leave her ticket (I assume it was a claim ticket), and that she would be notified when her trunk arrived.

Several attempts were made to claim the baggage. Finally, the agent presented her with a trunk, but it was not hers.

A newspaper article describes what happened next.

Here’s a text version of the story, just in case you’re having some trouble reading it:

TROUSERS! O, SHOCKING!

Waiting for Lingerie, Woman Receives Trunkful of Men’s Clothes.

It is bad enough after you have waited for the railroad company to deliver your trunk and then when the trunk comes to find that it isn’t your’s. But the case is aggravated when you are a woman and the trunk you get is full of garments worn by the sterner sex.

This is the opinion of Ida Strakovsky, Woodland-av., S. E., and E. 38th-st., who yesterday filed a suit against the Pennsylvania railroad.

The petition sets forth that Miss Strakovsky came to this country two years ago and brought with her all her earthly possessions, among which were a number of rare pieces of silverware.

The trunk was slow in arriving in Cleveland and when at last she was told that it had arrived she found that it was not her baggage.

She asks in her petition that the railroad company either give her the trunk or damages to the amount of $500.

That’s right, two years later, the Pennsylvania Railroad delivered the wrong trunk. So Strakovsky sued for $500, which is $11,547 in today’s money.

Sadly, the suit did not end well. After Strakovsky amended the complaint to add the American Steamship Company, and upped the claim to $1,083 ($25,011 in today’s dollars) “for emotional turmoil she had been put through,” a court reached a disappointing verdict, says her great-granddaughter.

Not only did the court find in favor of the defendants, but my great grandmother received no recovery and had to pay all court costs. How’s that for adding insult to injury!

I’m sure that this was not the first case of an elderly immigrant being “railroaded.”

Gloger’s great-grandmother passed away two years later.

Why wait a century to make a luggage claim on behalf of a long-dead relative? She explains that she picked up the trail after the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s archives came online recently, and she found the 1911 article. That led her to the Cuyahoga County Archives to find the court case.

Gloger sent a letter to the lawfirm representing what’s left of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. It hasn’t responded.

You may be wondering: Is she serious?

Yes, she is.

Here’s how she ended her letter to the firm:

This is now the 100th anniversary of my great grandmother learning about American justice or injustice firsthand. Did the “big guys” feel justified in denying this old immigrant woman her due?

Not only did they deny her her due, she had to pay all that is involved in fees and court costs in 1911. She died in 1913 never having recovered any of her worldly possessions that she brought from Europe in 1907!

I am here to find justice in her stead. Many of the items in the trunk she never received were items that her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have inherited. Many were for religious observance that can never be replaced. Others were items of value that families pass on from one generation to the next.

I wish to be compensated at the current rate of exchange allowing for inflation. Let’s see— $500 in 1911 would be worth how much today?

By now you are either chuckling or asking yourself “is this lady serious or what!” Absolutely! I, and her descendants, will not be cheated out of my/our inheritance. I expect you big guys to man-up and do the right thing.

Interesting case. Very interesting.

Look, lost luggage is lost luggage — whether it happened a century ago or a day ago. But it seems a court already ruled on this issue, and even if I disagree with the verdict (which I do) I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do to help.

If nothing else, this is a fascinating historical document that suggests travel companies have a long tradition of mistreating customers. That said, I’m open to helping Gloger find justice for her great-grandmother.

But how?

(Photo by Steven W./Flickr Creative Commons)

73 thoughts on “Can this trip be saved? They lost my great-grandmother’s luggage, and I want it back

  1. Chris, while this is a cute story, how can you “disagree with the verdict”?  We know nothing about what transpired in court.  Why did she lose?  It could have been for any number of reasons: 

    Maybe the amount of damages she claimed was implausible, maybe baggage liability laws at the time required the purchase of separate insurance (especially for that much value), etc.  There are lots of reasons this could have been a just and reasonable verdict.   Maybe it was unjust, but that’s impossible for you or I to say a century later.  (I’m sure the full court record has been lost in the sands of time…)

    I will point out that $12,000 is much greater than any sane person would present as checked luggage today unless they were prepared to accept that nothing could be done in case of loss.  For that much in extremely valuable goods today, you would engage the services of a fully-insured cargo operation.  (Or even the USPS, which will insure up to $25,000 if you use Registered Mail.)

    1. I don’t think any lawyer would take a case that has A. already been settled in court, and B. has passed the statute of limitations.

  2. The best way to help the complainant is to assist her in finding peace with the 100 year old verdict.  While I sympathize with her (to a point), pursuit of this on your part would only be for the self-promotion it that would arise from any external coverage.

  3. I think Amtrak is the successor to the Pennsylvania railroad, at least the passenger part. The Pennsylvania railroad went bankrupt about 40 years ago, leading to the formation of Conrail, which was owned by the Federal government. Since the Federal government assumed many of the Pennsylvania railroad’s liabilities and runs Amtrak to this day, she might petition Congress or ask Obama for the money. I think if she generates enough publicity through you and other media types, she might get some restitution from Obama. He seems to be very generous with the government’s money.

    1. Tom, though I don’t disagree with anything you say, I don’t see it as “the government’s money”.. I see it as my money.

  4. Not being a lawyer, I would guess she has no case of a couple grounds.  Foremost is that the great grandmother already had her day in court and lost.  The statue of limitations for an appeal is long past I would guess.  And also, the great grand daughter would have no legal claim since she was not a party to the loss.  I don’t blame the law firm for not responding to such a frivolous claim.  I wouldn’t either.  And if she persists, I wouldn’t be surprised if the law firm didn’t haul her to court for harassment or something like that.

  5. I really wanted to sympathize with the great-granddaughter. But I can’t. Her great grandmother took this to court when it was a “fresh” case. Now it just reeks of greed.

    ‘$500 in 1911 would be worth how much today?” And ” I expect you big guys to man-up and do the right thing.” Ick. If I were the “big guys”I would have filed this to the shredder.

    1. 100% agreed. what got ME was this line: “I, and her descendants, will not be cheated out of my/our inheritance.”

      really? 

      pure greed. an inheritance is a privilege and should be looked upon as windfall, not a right.

  6. When I read this article, I thought it was April Fool’s Day, then I realized its August 29th!

    Come on Chris, are you serious? or are you just trying to provoke discussion?

      1. Ms. Gloger may be serious but you shouldn’t be serious about this case, Chris. As many others have posted, I have to believe the statute of limitations has long since passed. If I were the railroad and/or law firm I would think this was a crackpot or a greedy heir.

  7. ಠ_ಠ

    Do you seriously think that this will even go anywhere?
    (Remember the lost luggage case with Alitalia a few weeks ago with the time limit on filing a claim?)

  8. She sounds like a greedy person out to see how much she can make off of her great-grandmother’s misfortune.  I bet her great-grams would be disappointed to see how she is dragging her name and situation through the mud.

  9. Chris, if there have been bankruptcies, it relieves them of any and all liability with respect to lost luggage claims.  Furthermore, there has been a court ruling (even if it was not what I’d agree with).

    1. @ea8182cc940291cd9e79a40da5daee5d:disqus 

      The short answer is maybe.  Business bankruptcies do not necessary wipe out debt.

      1. they do if there are no assets . . . . as is the case here with the Pennsylvania Railroad – Carver – Chapter 7, 11, 13 or Unit Zombie from the 1928 or 1903 Bankruptcy Code – none of it matters since there are secured creditors who never got paid ahead of this heir in the event assets are discovered . . .  the Pennsy bankruptcy after the merger into Penn Central, well – there is nothing there. 

        She has a judgment against her as well – and I dare say it will be somewhat difficult to reopen a 100 year old case- she needs to first be appointed as Administrator of the Estate . . .  and she is a mite late on the Estate Tax return probably as well . . . 

        😉

  10. The crazy, it burns!!!!
    The OP needs a lay or a hobby and I don’t know or care which…

    She sounds like one of those people who want “slavery reparations.” No one alive today owned slaves. Get over it.

  11. Please don’t do this, Chris. We (the travelers) really need an advocate like yourself and when you actually consider mediating a case like this, you make it a whole lot easier for companies to dismiss your opinions.

  12. While I sympathize with the great grandmother for her loss, I feel that this is just a publicity stunt and an attempt at a money grab at this point.  

    We have to understand that great grandma really did have everything she owned in that trunk and probably was devastated by the loss.  She wasn’t just visiting, she was moving here permanently and was not going back to where she came from so what else was she to do with those things?  It was not unusual for people to pack heirlooms and valuables in their trunk when moving here.  Since this was before the TSA inspections and x-ray checking of bags, we can’t blame the loss on that. And we don’t know what happened during the court case.  Did grandma have a competent lawyer?  Did she have a lawyer at all?  Did the court dismiss her case because she was an old lady?  Was she like the great grand daughter and simply trying for a money grab from those rich robber barons?    Without the records, we don’t know.  

    This just shows that lost luggage is not a recent side effect of poorly run modern companies.  

  13. A couple legal thoughts.

    Ordinarily, this would certainly be barred by res judicata, collateral estoppel, lack of standing, and/or the statute of limitations.  However, in cases of certain extreme injustices, Congress has enacted special legislation that supercedes state law and permitted relief to be granted. 

    In the modern era, the two most common examples are the reparations for the Japanese American internernment of WWII and the return of Jewish property stolen by the Nazis.

    In both cases, compensation to the victims and the victims’ decendants would be impossible absent special federal legislation.

    1. Not funny you are comparing lost luggage to the horrific injustices done to Japanese Americans interred in WWII and Jews who had their possessions misappropriated by the Nazi’s.

      1. Is he being funny? Unless there is something in the Latin words I don’t get, I got the impression their is NO comparison.

        1. Uh, yes, he is comparing lost luggage reparations to reparations made to Jews and Japanese Americans caused by the horrors they suffered in WWII.

          Your “super literal” interpretation of my use of the word funny is lame.

          1. Not the way I read it. I found it to be a good post. Others did as well, as it received 4 times the ‘likes’ as your response.

            Carver is not being “funny”. He is illustrating the magnitude of a crime that would require federal intervention to re-open. An immigrant’s lost suitcase just does not compare to the examples given.

            If you find my “interpetation” of your use of “funny” as “super literal”, find another choice of words to state the facts. I would advise punctuation to eliminate run on sentences as well.

  14. Wow…  Just – wow!

    I had a great-great grandfather who had land stolen and his wife (his second wife, not my great-great grandmother) was left penniless in the wake of his death and the land grab.  I have proof and there’s some prime farm land there in Southern Ohio that should belong to my family.  Maybe I should go after the family of the banker who stole the land while he was executor of the estate…

    Just, wow…

  15. I think you all are really missing the boat on this one. Ms Gloger may not have a court case, may not be entitled money, but I think she deserves a form of resolution that Mr. Elliott can deliver. A letter of formal apology, or maybe a naming a car after Mrs. Stratovsky would possibly settle this issue. Possibly giving Ms. Gloger an item of historical value. This is PR 101 folks. They screwed it up the first time (as they do now). Let them understand the error of their ways, even if it’s 100 years too late.

    Y’all need to get over yourselves on a Monday morning and allow a little humanity in to your lives. 

    1. Anyone involved these days isn’t going to have had ANY interest in this case back when it happened. Neither the company itself, nor the lawyers are even around anymore and anyone representing the old interests of the railroad wouldn’t be responsible for any old, lost items. No apology is needed for a case that was lost 100+ years back.

      i am sorry it happened to her, but she had her day in court and lost. I think today the result may be different, but the case went to court 100 years back. I think it is time for the family to move on and be grateful they found some archives and actually have a memory and knowledge of their long lost family member. So many people these days would love to have ANY knowledge of their family history and have ZERO.

    2. sorry Edmond, i wholeheartedly disagree with your speculation that she’d be happy with such resolutions.  this woman wants money, plain and simple.

    3. I would suggest that you contact her and help her. The world needs a little humanity and you are the perfect one to help.

  16. Okay, I’ll admit… I voted yes. Not because I agree with her suit, I
    don’t. This sounds like a money grab, pure and simple. I simply think
    this would be interesting story to follow. Maybe the law firm would find additional facts about the case, etc. Historically, I’m intrigued. Still, I agree, a letter of apology or some gesture would be appropriate.

  17. It’s fine for the OP to “spend” her time in this pursuit, but please, Chris, don’t waste your time doing this. I voted no with the majority.  It’s …if you’ll excuse the phrase … a dead issue.

  18. Mrs. Gloger needs to move on and use her time and energy in more productive ways. With all of the need we have in our country, there are numerous charities that would be happy to have her involvement. No offense, but The Eagles have a song that is very appropriate….”Get Over It!”

  19. I voted yes.  Why?  In my view, Mrs. Strakovsky was wronged in 1907/1909.   Not only were her possessions not delivered to her by the steamship and/or railroad companies to whom they were entrusted, but she lost her claim and had to pay court costs as well.   Her case was settled by a court, but was justice done?  

    I don’t think that her great-granddaughter is doing this for the money.  (Is there any money to be had anyway?)  Rather, I see her as attempting to right a wrong.  I doubt seriously that mediation will be successful, Chris, but it would be very instructive to see whether you receive any response and if you do, the nature of that response.

    This could be a good research project for a historian or a legal scholar to pursue.  It would be interesting to know, amongst other things, the composition of the court in this case, the legal bases for their decision and how similar cases at the time were settled.

    1. @bcfb3e24f717ac86e998d6f813cd54a9:disqus you say: “I don’t think that her great-granddaughter is doing this for the money.” 

      However, this quote from the OP directly refutes that:
      “I wish to be compensated at the current rate of exchange allowing for
      inflation. Let’s see— $500 in 1911 would be worth how much today?” 

      Sure, a legal scholar or historian may pursue this. Let’s let Chris stick to mediating appropriate cases.

      1. If anything, like some of Chris’ previous “cases”, that OP’s giving a starting point for possible compensation. Personally, I find that part you quoted materially reasonable, but again that’s just a start.

        It so happens an apology isn’t enough, considering there were sentimental possessions that were lost or even stolen. I suppose this gives the OP a cause worth subjectively pursuing, though I hope that doesn’t stop her from enjoying life anyway.

        OTOH, it’ll probably be more worthwhile if, say, more people came forward with similar claims as the OP towards that company or whoever. Now that can surely make news!

      2. I still don’t think the OP is simply motivated by money, for the reason that I cannot see how she could not have come to the same conclusion that I and some others did that “there is no money to be had.”  A value has to be placed on her claim and that $500 is it.
         
        Emoticons and their use are not as popular as they once were, but using them would certainly demonstrate the undertones in our messages.  In this instance, without an emoticon, I detected a certain wryness in the OP’s, “Let’s see—$500 in 1911 would be worth how much today?”  I could be wrong, but that was my impression.

        While Ms Gogler’s case may not have the immediacy of the problems that usually come to Chris’s attention, nevertheless should he decide to mediate, I would be interested in the outcome.

        The suggestion concerning research for a “historian or a legal scholar.”  I assumed, again perhaps wrongly, that out of the readers here given the variety of interests represented, for one of us this could very well be “the case.”    
         

  20. I voted no simply because it is a waste of your time. 

    However, the immigrant lady was robbed twice.  They lost her baggage, and then when she asked for compensation (even if you think $500 in 1909 dollars was excessive) she had to pay the court costs of the RR that lost her baggage!  That is truly outrageous. 

  21. Maybe Adelle should spend her time looking for the trunk that was delivered to her grandmother and locating the family of the man who didn’t get his steamer trunk.  Maybe they have her grandmother’s in an attic or basement collecting dust.

  22. I agree that this is not a case for Christopher. However, I am NOT in the majority who think that Ms Gloger is crazy, or greedy, or trying to profit off her ancestor’s misfortune.  What I hear is a woman who discovered a horrific injustice done to her great-grandmother, and feels a strong desire to find some justice all these decades later.  I see this as similar to people who fight to clear the names of their dead relatives who were wrongly convicted of a crime.

    I do hope that someone will help Ms Gloger in her attempts to seek justice – but it shouldn’t be Christopher, as this was more a legal wrong than a travel misfortune. While we don’t know what the reasons were behind the court decision, the bare facts of the case indicate that it was unfair and unjust. 

    Ms Gloger is making a mistake, however, in pressing for such a high financial penalty.  That undermines her effort, and makes her look like she IS just doing a money grab. I suspect she did that for the shock value, in an attempt to make them take her seriously based on the high $$ value of her demand.  But if she truly wants to seek delayed justice for her wronged forbear, she should be willing to explore other options for reparation – a letter of apology, or some other form of acknowledgement of wrongdoing. 

    She needs to remember that, as others have pointed out, the actual perpetrators of the injustice are all long dead.  If there is a corporate or government entity that retains some connection to the long-gone railroad, they may be willing to do something to right the wrong that was done by their predecessors all those decades ago.  But expecting financial recompense at this point is unreasonable.

    My opinion about Ms Gloger is subject to revision if it turns out that only money will satisfy her.  If that’s the case, then it becomes clear she is just looking for a windfall off the misfortune of a long-dead relative.

    1. If you call the great-grandmother losing her possessions is a “horrific injustice,” what do you call what happened to the woman who was sexually assaulted on the Spirit Airlines flight (discussed on another thread on this site)? The great-grandmother lost her possessions, maybe due to the railroad’s incompetence, but as unfortunate as that was, I don’t think “horrific injustice” is the right term for that.

  23. This just screams GREED!!! Yes, you may have lost several family heirlooms, but believe me, thousands of people probably lost family heirlooms when travelling from Europe to America. It’s a fact of life. Shit happens. She just wants money. Seriously lady, get a life.

  24. “Gloger sent a letter to the lawfirm representing what’s left of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. It hasn’t responded.”

    Maybe the Norfolk Southern has a new lawyer. (From Wikipedia):

    In 1968 the Pennsylvania Railroad merged with its rival, the New York Central Railroad, to form the Penn Central Transportation Company. The Interstate Commerce Commission required that the ailing New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad be added in 1969. A series of events including inflation, poor management, abnormally harsh weather and the withdrawal of a government-guaranteed $200-million operating loan forced the Penn Central to file for bankruptcy protection on June 21, 1970.[4] The viable parts of the Penn Central system were transferred in 1976 to Conrail, which began earning a profit in 1981. The Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation acquired Conrail in approximately equal portions in 1999, with Norfolk Southern now owning most of the former Pennsylvania Railroad, including the old Pennsy Main Line across Pennsylvania.

    I am really getting a kick from this one!!

  25. It seems very unlikely for there to be a legal resolution. To the extent that there has already been a suit, principles of “res judicata,” something that has already been decided cannot be decided again. The time for taking an appeal of that decision has long since passed, as it has for suing on anything else. I would expect that only a moral basis for seeking recovery exists, and in the case of the Pennsylvania Railroad (now known as American Premier Underwriters Inc., a subsidiary of the American Financial Group), the degree to which the company feels morally responsible is probably limited, if any exists at all.

    If the facts are as stated, then the railroad probably was successful in evading its duty to Mrs. Strakofsky by failing to deliver her luggage. But the proper course of action was for Mrs. Strakofsky to take an appeal in 1911, and it seems highly unlikely that Ms. Gloger can maintain a cause of action (in either her name or her great-grandmother’s name) in 2011.

  26. I hope you do not get involved in this case for several reasons. First, it is too old. It’s unfortunate that the railroad didn’t compensate her grandmother, but too many years have gone by. Second, in what form, if any, does the Pennsylvania Railroad exist? Wan’t it folded into Amtrak a long time ago? I don’t think it is fair to sue a company that is only remotely connected to the original one. Third, the court found in favor of the defendants. Yes, the decision was wrong. But I don’t think you can sue a company once the court has found in their favor, unless you sue on different grounds–so the judge, if he has any sense, will probably dismiss the suit anyway. Finally, even if the company felt sorry for her and decided to pay her the $500, that’s all it should be. That was the value of the goods, and inflation should not enter into it. Her great-granddaughter has no way of knowing whether the items would have been inherited or specifically what they would be worth. She sounds like she is just out for a quick buck.

    1. exactly, who is to say the woman would have bequeathed these items to her? was her mother/father an only child? and is the OP an only child? that’s the only way you can find a direct line of inheritance. maybe grandma would’ve sold those items, maybe she would’ve given them to a friend, maybe she wanted to be buried with them.  

      Adelle’s sense of entitlement is appalling.

  27. it’s terrible that the woman lost all of her belongings, and it’s even worse that the railroad prevailed in the lawsuit (assuming they were at fault for losing her items).  but this is not the proper forum in which to pursue this case.  let Chris use his expertise where it’s relevant.  

    also, can’t help but wonder about the male who lost his trunk too (that was mistakenly delivered to Ida).  did she give the trunk back and say “That’s not mine”? did she keep it, kind of like collateral? did his he or his family ever receive its contents? makes ya think…

  28. The most impressive fact, as I re-read this article, is that Chris has never had a lost luggage complaint involving Amtrak!

    1. For all its faults, Amtrak is pretty good with baggage. Depending on the route, one can bring five pieces along at no charge. With few trains transporting checked baggage at any particular station, it is not likely for baggage to get lost in the system. Most all of the baggage is handled manually, with real people making sure things get sent to the proper place. There’s no regular system for employees or TSA to go through baggage and steal contents. Yet Amtrak keeps better tabs on baggage security than virtually every airline by releasing it only to the holder of the matching baggage claim check (and for that reason I sometimes do not immediately claim luggage, and instead go back for it later in the day when more convenient knowing that Amtrak will keep it secure).

      (My only mishap with Amtrak baggage was one time many years ago when I checked by baggage one day in advance from New York, N.Y. to San Jose, Calif. Enroute the locomotive engineers went on strike, and Amtrak arranged for charter bus service to take me and other passengers from the disruption point, Phoenix, Ariz., to our final destinations. My checked baggage had timely arrived in San Jose the day, but being that the railroad was completely closed down on account of the engineers’ strike, the San Jose station was closed and locked-up. After the strike ended, I picked up my baggage, which had arrived intact and stored securely.)

      I hope that Amtrak does not follow suit with all the travel silliness that the air carriers have instituted, and that Elliot keeps his good track record in not hearing of any Amtrak baggage mishaps.

      1. I was actually seriously impressed. Never checked a bag, have always carried on…sometimes much more than any airline would allow for checked!

        1. On my most recent long-distance Amtrak trip, I was returning from San Diego, Calif. by Clebrity Cruises to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., then by Amtrak train from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to New York, N.Y. In advance of boarding the train I was going to check most of the baggage with the agent who was already on the platform with the baggage cart. Most of it was quick and easy, but she admonished me to take one particular item on board. This box contained some Mayordomo chocolates from Oaxaca, Mexico, that we had picked up while in port in Huatulco, Mexico, and the box clearly indicated its delicious contents. The Amtrak baggage agent told me that some of its employees had an affinity for sweets, and it would be safest to bring the chocolates on board as carry-on. So my wife and I brought on board into our Viewliner roomette two 28-inch suitcases (likely much more than 50 lbs. each with all the souvenirs we picked up in California, Central, and South America) and a fairly large box filled with chocolate . . . and it all fit without too much ado. This on top of about five checked pieces of baggage . . . all without a single charge for baggage, and all arriving safely, securely, and intact in New York. Perhaps it would not have been so if we ignored the agent’s advice and did in fact check the chocolate!

  29. I didn’t vote and I don’t think Chris should mediate this case.

    It has already been adjudicated and the statute of limitations has obviously long expired. There is no reason the descendant company (Norfolk Southern) should have to bear any costs in this comical bid for money via media pressure.

    1. I wondered the same thing because I wanted to ask if she had called the FBI and had this person prosecuted. She should be talking to law enforcement, not a stewardess or customer service. She could likely find out the passengers name only by getting a court order that Spirit release the name of the passenger — they don’t give up passenger records without a court order.

  30. Have you gone looney?  Is it April 1st in your part of the world? 

    Chris – seriously?  Pennsylvania Railroad is long bankrupt – there are no assets to pay anyone.  Period. 

    Statute of limitations?

    Can she prove she is a rightful heir 100 years later? 

    If you take this you have jumped the shark here my friend.  This is as crazy as crazy gets. . .

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