As reported by Law360, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel have filed a complaint seeking to consolidate claims from residents, businesses, and property owners across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia affected by the recent and catastrophic Norfolk Southern train derailment and toxic spill. The complaint cites claims including negligence, state law violations, and crop destruction following the devastating environmental disaster and seeks medical monitoring for affected persons as well as other relief.

The derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3, led to the open release of toxic chemicals into the environment. Reports indicate that the 149-car train was transporting dangerously hazardous substances, including over a million pounds of vinyl chloride, a compound the EPA categorizes as extremely harmful to human health.

In their complaint, the Plaintiffs note that the derailment was not an isolated incident. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Norfolk Southern has been implicated in over 150 derailments in these three states in the period from 2019 to 2022 alone. The complaint suggests that the company’s self-labeled policy of “Precision Scheduled Railroading,” aimed at cutting costs, has resulted in reduced safety precautions and larger, more hazardous freight loads.

The complaint suggests that Norfolk Southern’s policies are a “master class” in how not to operate a freight railroad. Plaintiffs’ counsel note they are eager for the opportunity to presenting the facts to a jury.

This class-action, which encompasses four classes and thirteen subclasses of those affected, could set a precedent for future actions against corporations displaying reckless disregard for safety procedures and environmental protection.

The full article is available on Law360’s website (subscription required).

Learn more about the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment, Fire, and Toxic Spill litigation.

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