Norfolk Southern to Pay $600M in Ohio Train Derailment Lawsuit

Norfolk Southern NSC announced Tuesday that it has agreed to pay $600 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after a 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, caused a fire and spilled chemicals.

The agreement, if approved by a court, will resolve all class-action claims within a 20-mile radius of the derailment site and personal injury claims within 10 miles of the site, a news release from the railroad said. The company said the settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

In February 2023, a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, a village near the Pennsylvania border that is home to about 4,800 people. Thirty-eight of the general merchandise train's railcars, including 11 tank cars carrying hazardous chemicals that caught fire, derailed, a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board investigation found. Up to 2,000 residents were evacuated.

"This resolution comes shortly after the one-year anniversary of the disaster and will provide substantial compensation to all affected residents, property owners, employees and businesses residing, owning or otherwise having a legal interest in property, working, owning or operating a business for damages resulting from the derailment and release of chemicals" attorneys for plaintiffs said in a statement.

Hazardous substances including vinyl chloride, phosgene and hydrogen chloride were released, the Environmental Protection Agency reported. Despite residents' fears of long-term health issues, the EPA didn't declare a public health emergency. No deaths or injuries were reported.

Norfolk Southern has also paid $104 million in community assistance to East Palestine and the surrounding areas, including $25 million for a regional safety training center, $25 million for East Palestine park improvements, $21 million to residents and $9 million to first responders. 
The NTSB plans to release its final findings on the derailment this summer. The agency has said an overheating wheel bearing on one of the railcars likely caused the crash.

The post Norfolk Southern to pay $600M in Ohio train derailment lawsuit appeared first on FreightWaves.

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