The company whose driver was killed when his truck collided with a train in July wants a federal lawsuit filed against it in Massachusetts to be heard in a Maine court instead.

Michael P. Johnson, lawyer for Triumvirate Environmental, argued in a federal court filing submitted Monday that Amtrak’s lawsuit against the company should be heard in Maine in part because Triumvirate plans to sue the state over its maintenance of Route 4, where the crash occurred. The filing says Maine is immune from being sued in federal court, and moving Amtrak’s case would eliminate the need for it to be litigated twice.

“There is currently some evidence to suggest that the State of Maine may have been negligent in its duties (maintaining Route 4) and that negligence may have contributed to the accident,” the memo says.

The court filing does not say what problems exist with Route 4 or the warning signs announcing the approach to the railroad crossing, and the state is generally immune from such lawsuits, even in state court, under the Maine Tort Claims Act.

A provision of Maine law could reduce the company’s liability if the case is heard in state court. The company argues that the railroad bears some of the responsibility for the crash – if the court agrees, it could reduce or eliminate the damages the company is ordered to pay.

Peter T. Barnum was killed when he drove a tractor-trailer truck into the path of an Amtrak train traveling 75 mph through the Elm Street crossing in North Berwick, police said. An investigation released Monday concludes that Barnum was at fault because he failed to stop at the closed railroad crossing gates.

The report also says Barnum may have been distracted. Investigators believe he had just ended a cellphone call as he approached the crossing at 50 mph, 20 mph over the speed limit. When he did apply the brakes, the truck skidded for more than 200 feet into the train’s path.

Amtrak sued Barnum’s company, saying the driver, and by extension the company, was negligent. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeks to recoup more than $3 million in damages to the railroad’s engine, passenger cars and the tracks.

In seeking to have that suit dismissed and refiled in Maine, Triumvirate also argues that a Maine court would be more convenient, efficient and legally appropriate.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]