By Patrick Nolen on March 16, 2023
Cory Watson Attorneys filed its first individual lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the train derailment on Feb. 3, 2023, in East Palestine, Ohio. The nationally-recognized law firm represents hundreds of individuals, businesses, and property owners affected by the train crash.
The release of carcinogenic chemicals during the disaster caused local businesses to grind to a halt, costing them millions in lost revenue. The train derailment lawyers at Cory Watson seek to hold railroad company Norfolk Southern accountable for the significant financial losses suffered by their East Palestine clients.
Derailment Lawsuit Is the First On Behalf of an Individual Entity
On March 13, 2023, the firm filed its lawsuit on behalf of jointly-owned East Palestine companies CeramFab, CeramSource, and WYG Refractories, who are each seeking monetary compensation for their losses.
According to Cory Watson’s attorney Jon C. Conlin, this suit is the first filed on behalf of individual businesses or residents rather than being a class action filed on behalf of a large class of tens of thousands of people living or working in the area.
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Toxic Fumes Cause Widespread Business Interruption
The train derailment and subsequent release of toxic substances have devastated East Palestine’s economy and environment, with many businesses and individuals left struggling to recover.
For example, all production lines at these three businesses were forced to shut down because employees could not return to work.
CeramFab’s complaint also identifies the presence of several toxic chemicals on its property that were not listed in other complaints.
Costly Cleanup and Remediation May Be Necessary
Because of this toxic contamination, CeramFab, CeramSource, and WYG Refractories may need substantial remediation work before they can restart their East Palestine operations, if that will ever be possible.
In addition, the attorneys at Cory Watson are preparing to file several other lawsuits where the facts involved are similar to the unique situation at CeramFab, CeramSource, and WYG Refractories.
More About the Norfolk Southern Train Crash
On Feb. 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, resulting in severe environmental contamination and evacuation of up to 2,000 residents.
Eleven derailed cars were transporting hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, a highly toxic and flammable gas used for commercial purposes.
The evacuation order was lifted after air and water samples were deemed safe. Still, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimated that over 38,000 minnows and 5,500 other aquatic life were killed after exposure to contaminated material.
Lingering Concerns and Anxiety
The derailment caused lingering concerns and anxiety for East Palestine residents, plus increased scrutiny of railroad industry regulations and calls for reform.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern to conduct all necessary cleanup actions and reimburse the government agency for cleanup services.
Medical clinics were also set up to address health concerns resulting from the train accident. The removal of tracks and contaminated soil excavation is ongoing.
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The Dangers of Vinyl Chloride
Vinyl chloride is an extremely dangerous and toxic chemical typically used to make a plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), toxic exposure to vinyl chloride can lead to a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, liver damage, and neurological disorders.
In addition to its cancer risk in humans, vinyl chloride can contaminate waterways and soil, posing a threat to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.
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How to Know If You Have a Norfolk Southern Legal Claim
If you were affected by the Norfolk Southern train derailment, here are factors in determining if you have a legal claim:
- Proximity to the derailment: If you live or work near the train accident site, you may have been exposed to carcinogenic or cancer-causing chemicals and could be at risk for health problems. The closer you are to the site, the stronger your claim may be.
- Health problems: If you experience respiratory issues, skin irritation, or other symptoms associated with exposure to dangerous chemicals, you may have a claim against Norfolk Southern.
- Property damage: If your property was damaged, for example, by soil or water contamination, you might be entitled to compensation for the cost of cleanup and restoration.
- Financial losses: If you are a business owner who suffered derailment-related financial losses, including revenue or property damage, you could have a claim against Norfolk Southern.
If you believe you have a Norfolk Southern legal claim, consulting with an experienced railroad attorney is important.
They can assess your situation and help you navigate the legal process. A skilled attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options and work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect During the Legal Process
Once you have selected an experienced environmental and personal injury lawyer from Cory Watson, the legal process may include the following:
- Investigation: Your lawyer will begin by thoroughly investigating the train derailment, gathering evidence and information to build a strong case. This may include things like collecting documents, photographs, witness statements, and expert opinions.
- Filing the lawsuit: After the initial investigation, your lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf, outlining the specific allegations and damages. In the case of Cory Watson, the firm has already filed a lawsuit on behalf of CeramFab, CeramSource, and WYG Refractories.
- Discovery: Once a lawsuit is filed, both sides typically exchange information and evidence about the case during the discovery phase. This may involve written questions (interrogatories), requests for documents, and depositions (interviews under oath).
- Settlement negotiations: As the case progresses, your lawyer may negotiate with the opposing party to reach a fair and reasonable resolution without going to trial. Many cases are settled prior to trial, saving time and money for all parties involved.
- Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial. Your train accident lawyer will present the evidence and argue your case in court. The opposing party will also present its defense. Ultimately, the judge or jury will determine the outcome and award any compensation for injuries or damages.
- Appeals: Depending on the outcome, either party may appeal the decision, leading to further legal proceedings.
About Cory Watson Attorneys
Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally-recognized firm that has garnered over $3 billion in compensation for clients across the U.S. The personal injury law firm is based in Birmingham, AL, with additional offices in Memphis and Nashville, TN.
Its lawyers are frequently appointed to leadership positions in high-profile cases nationwide, including multi-district litigations and class actions. These legal claims pertain to hazardous waste, dangerous pharmaceuticals, and serious injuries caused by defective products.
Cases we handle include environmental and toxic torts, defective medical devices, business and commercial litigation, dangerous pharmaceuticals, asbestos, class action, product liability, and personal injury.
Call Us If the East Palestine Train Derailment Impacted You or Your Business
Unfortunately, no matter the type of train accident, it can give rise to various lawsuits, including business interruption claims, property damage claims, personal injury claims, and wrongful death claims.
This particular train disaster has had widespread repercussions for East Palestine residents. Thankfully, victims of this tragedy can seek justice and compensation with the help of an experienced train accident lawyer from Cory Watson Attorneys.
Contact an environmental attorney today for a completely free and confidential consultation.