Norfolk Southern Agrees to Pay $600 Million in East Palestine Train Derailment Settlement

Norfolk Southern Agrees to Pay $600 Million in East Palestine Train Derailment Settlement
The cleanup of portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed on Feb. 3, in East Palestine, Ohio, continues on Feb. 9, 2023. (Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

Norfolk Southern Corporation announced on Tuesday it has reached a $600 million agreement to resolve a class action lawsuit related to the 2023 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

The settlement comes in the wake of the Feb. 3, 2023 incident in which a Norfolk Southern Railway freight train carrying 151 cars derailed, spilling hazardous chemicals, including vinyl chloride, onto the ground and into the air.

Burning vinyl chloride also produces a small amount of phosgene gas, which was used as a chemical weapon on World War I battlefields. When 38 of the rail cars derailed, a fire ensued, damaging an additional 12 cars.

Of the 20 cars carrying hazardous materials, 11 derailed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

“If approved by the court, the agreement will resolve all class action claims within a 20-mile radius from the derailment and, for those residents who choose to participate, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius from the derailment,” the company said in a press release Tuesday. “This is another promise kept by Norfolk Southern to make it right for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.”

The company added that in the year since the incident, they have “made commitments to address three long-term concerns of residents: drinking water, home values, and healthcare.”

They have begun some programs to remedy drinking water and home value concerns, and stated that the settlement will provide “additional, significant monetary relief to individuals, including for healthcare, and to help qualifying local businesses continue to rebuild and grow.”

More on Settlement Agreement

Notably, the settlement agreement according to the company “does not include or constitute any admission of liability, wrongdoing, or fault.”

They noted the settlement was reached through “extensive negotiations” with court-appointed class counsel and a mediator.

It is expected to be submitted for preliminary approval by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio later this month, with payments beginning by the end of the year, pending court approval.

Norfolk Southern says 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,” the company’s press release stated. “This could include healthcare needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss. 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.”

Other monetary support offered by the company prior to this agreement include: $104 million in community assistance to East Palestine and the surrounding areas in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including $25 million each for a regional safety training center and improvements to East Palestine’s city park; $21 million in direct payments to residents; $9 million to local first responders; $4.3 million to support upgrades to drinking water infrastructure; $2 million for community-directed projects; and $500,000 grant for economic development.

“The actual allocations and payments to households, businesses, and individuals will be determined by court-appointed class counsel,” the company added in the announcement. “Class members will soon receive additional details about the settlement, including the contact information for a Settlement Administrator to whom they can direct any questions and information regarding a Claims Assistance Center in East Palestine.”

Jeff Louderback contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.