On February 3, 2021, a freight train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. More than 100,000 gallons of toxic chemicals were released, which can harm people’s health, wildlife, properties, and water. Now, more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed against Norfolk Southern in federal court on behalf of local residents. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that the East Palestine train derailment caused property damage, health issues, and environmental contamination. They are seeking compensation for their losses and damages.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys have held information sessions at various East Palestine locations, including the American Legion hall and the local high school cafeteria.
They warn residents that it may be months, years, or even decades before the toxic chemicals affect people’s health. Additionally, it may take years for water quality to return to normal. Not only that, but property values may take a long time to return.
Governor Mike DeWine and other state and federal officials have said that the test results so far have not been alarming.
However, rightly so, many residents remain skeptical and feel that politicians are not being diligent enough in their response and helping East Palestine Residents.
East Palestine Train Derailment Chemical Study
One study shows exposure to one of the chemicals (acrolein) released can affect heart and lung function. Additionally, the chemical is toxic to aquatic life. Moreover, Texas A&M Researchers discovered elevated levels of toxic chemicals that can cause headaches, lung and eye irritation, and other health concerns. Some are even linked to cancer.
A famed environmental activist, Erin Brockovich, recently spoke to a filled East Palestine High School auditorium. She said of the derailment, “I’ve never seen anything in 30 years like this.”
Lawyers from all over the country have descended on East Palestine to represent local residents in their lawsuits against Norfolk Southern. The lawsuits allege that the company is responsible for the derailment and its resulting damages.
Norfolk Southern has not commented on matters involving litigation. The company has begun paying $1,000 in “inconvenience compensation” to those who had to evacuate after the derailment. The company insists that these payments do not curtail anyone’s right to sue.
The lawsuits against Norfolk Southern are still in their early stages. It is unclear yet how the cases will be handled and what kind of resolution Norfolk Southern may offer. However, it is clear that local residents are determined to fight for justice and compensation for their losses.