Norfolk Southern Agrees On $600M Settlement Over A Year After Ohio Train Derailment

EAST PALESTINE, OH - FEBRUARY 14: A Norfolk Southern train is en route on February 14, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. Another train operated by the company derailed on February 3, releasing toxic fumes and forcing evacuation of residents. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
A Norfolk Southern train is en route on February 14, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. Another train operated by the company derailed on February 3, releasing toxic fumes and forcing evacuation of residents. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
3:23 PM -Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Norfolk Southern has agreed to a $600 million settlement to resolve class action lawsuits filed after a freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio spilling more than a million pounds of highly toxic chemicals into the community.

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According to CNN, the company has not admitted liability or wrongdoing in the settlement. 

The company said in a news release on Tuesday that the settlement “is another promise kept by Norfolk Southern to make it right for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.”

“The agreement is designed to provide finality and flexibility for settlement class members. Individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment,” Norfolk Southern said.

“This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss,” the company continued. “In addition, individuals within 10-miles of the derailment may, at their discretion, choose to receive additional compensation for any past, current, or future personal injury from the derailment.”

The settlement also states that residents within 10 miles of the derailment site will be eligible for additional compensation. 

“Individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment,” the company said in a statement. “This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss.”

On February 3rd, 2023, 38 cars of a freight train derailed off Taggart Street. The large amount of cars were carrying hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate, which are known to cause respiratory problems and possibly certain cancers with prolonged exposure. 

Residents within a 1-mile radius were forced to evacuate. A few days after the spill, the rail company did a controlled chemical release and burned vinyl chloride, a flammable gas, which was a move that officials said would decrease the risk of an explosion. 

Soon after the incident, lawsuits were filed quickly. Residents sued the company over lost income due to the evacuation and health concerns. 

Additionally, the plaintiffs said they planned to file a motion asking the judge to approve the settlement within 10 days. Attorneys that are representing the residents said they are hoping to see payments sent out by the end of 2024. 

“We believe this is a fair, reasonable and adequate result for the community on a number of levels, not the least of which is the speed of the resolution, and the overall amount of awards residents can expect, which will be significant for those most impacted by the derailment,” attorneys representing the claimants said in a joint statement.

Furthermore, Norfolk Southern said it has spent $104 million in community assistance to East Palestine, $4.3 million in making improvements on the drinking water infrastructure, and $500,000 for improving economic development. 

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