Norfolk Southern settles Ohio derailment lawsuit for $600 million

April 10, 2024

Overview of the settlement agreement

Norfolk Southern has reportedly reached a $600 million settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit stemming from a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February 2023.

This incident, which involved the spillage of toxic chemicals, has raised significant concerns about rail safety in the United States.

The settlement, pending court approval, aims to compensate residents and businesses in East Palestine and the affected surrounding areas for damages incurred.

Details of the compensation agreement

The agreement proposes compensation for “past, present, and future personal injuries resulting from exposure to the chemicals involved,” according to the attorneys representing the class action against Norfolk Southern.

The settlement, described as unprecedented in scale by Jayne Conroy, the lead attorney for the class, is intended to address all class action claims within a 20-mile radius of the derailment site.

Additionally, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius will be covered for participating residents.

Conroy highlighted the breadth of the settlement, noting that approximately 100,000 class members could be eligible for compensation, including residents living within close proximity to the crash site.

Ongoing legal challenges and future steps

Despite the settlement, Norfolk Southern is not acknowledging any liability or wrongdoing.

Further steps are required to finalize the agreement, including the development of an allocation formula and mechanisms for processing claims and distributing funds efficiently.

The legal team representing the class action anticipates initial payments to be distributed by the end of 2024.

The settlement also takes into account various factors such as proximity to the derailment site, household membership, duration of displacement, and exposure to contaminants.

This agreement comes after Norfolk Southern’s commitment last year to compensate homeowners around East Palestine for property value losses due to the derailment.

Moreover, Norfolk Southern faces additional lawsuits from shareholders, the state of Ohio, and the U.S. Justice Department.

Despite legislative efforts to enhance rail safety following the incident, progress on the proposed measures has been slow.

FSJA Comment

The $600 million settlement agreement between Norfolk Southern and the residents and businesses affected by the East Palestine derailment marks a significant moment in addressing the aftermath of one of the most notable rail incidents in recent U.S. history.

As the legal process moves forward, the effectiveness of this settlement in compensating the affected individuals and fostering safer rail practices will be closely watched.

Read Next

Subscribe Now