As reported by Law360 (subscription), the consolidated class litigation relating to last year’s Norfolk Southern train derailment and toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio took a significant step forward earlier this week when Judge Benita Y. Pearson of the Northern District of Ohio granted provisional approval to the proposed $600 million settlement between the railroad company and thousands of affected residents and businesses. The tragedy made national news last year when a Norfolk Southern train carrying highly toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride, derailed in East Palestine.

The settlement will cover class claims from residents, businesses and property owners, and other plaintiffs who alleged numerous harms such as lost income, property damage, contamination at residences and workplaces, and increased risk of serious and potentially fatal illnesses including cancer and organ damage necessitating ongoing medical monitoring.

As Law360 notes, the settlement “aims to resolve all class claims — for negligence, strict liability, nuisance and trespass — within a 20-mile radius of the derailment, as well as personal injury claims from participating residents within a 10-mile radius of the derailment.” This is excellent news for our clients in the litigation over the spill and its consequent toxic effects.

In addition to ending the plaintiffs’ claims against Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern, the settlement would also bring to a close claims against certain owners and lessors of railcars that were transporting hazardous materials: OxyVinyls LP, Trinity Industries Leasing Co., GATX Corp., and its subsidiary General American Marks Co.

Lieff Cabraser serves on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee and as Co-Chair of the Law and Briefing Committee in the litigation. A final approval hearing before Judge Pearson is scheduled for September 25th, 2024.

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

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