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East Palestine Train Derailment Litigation

Burg Simpson Represents Individuals & Businesses Impacted by the Train Derailment & Release of Toxic Chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio

Burg Simpson has filed a class action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company for the derailment of 38 freight cars and subsequent release of vinyl chloride and other hazardous chemicals into the local environment.

Attorney and Burg Simpson shareholder Seth Katz has been named Interim Class Counsel and Co-Lead Counsel in the East Palestine train derailment litigation. Melanie Bailey, attorney and shareholder at Burg Simpson, is Co-Chair of the Law & Briefing Committee in the case.

Burg Simpson is committed to pursuing fair compensation for those impacted by the train derailment and chemical burn off in the East Palestine community. Our firm has extensive experience handling class action lawsuits, with many of our attorneys appointed to manage multidistrict and national litigation.

Smoke cloud rising from the site of the East Palestine train derailment after Norfolk Southern's 'chemical burn off' | Burg Simpson Law Firm

About the East Palestine Train Derailment

On February 3, 2023, Norfolk Southern train 32N derailed as it was traveling through East Palestine, Ohio. The train consisted of approximately 150 cars, 20 of which were loaded with hazardous materials including vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and benzene. In total, 38 railcars on train 32N left the tracks in East Palestine.

Multiple cars involved in the derailment caught fire. The volatility of the chemicals carried by Norfolk Southern train 32N (particularly vinyl chloride) raised concerns of an explosion. Ultimately, Norfolk Southern decided to conduct a “controlled release and burn” of vinyl chloride from the five compromised tank cars containing vinyl chloride.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the East Palestine train derailment was “100% preventable.” Burg Simpson is spearheading litigation to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the damage caused to East Palestine and nearby communities.

Why Did the Train in East Palestine Derail?

Preliminary investigation by the NTSB has revealed that the derailment was likely caused by an overheated wheel bearing on railcar 23. The NTSB will hold a public meeting in East Palestine on June 25, 2024, to vote on its final findings, the probable cause of the derailment, and any recommendations.

Wheel bearings allow the wheels of the train to rotate smoothly on each axle. They bear the weight of the train and the forces generated during its movement. Several videos of the Norfolk Southern train prior to the derailment show sparks and flames emanating from underneath one of the cars, suggesting a serious problem with the wheel bearing.

Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Norfolk Southern

More than 30 class action complaints have been filed against Norfolk Southern by several East Palestine residents and businesses in the area. Last year, United States District Judge Benita Y. Pearson ordered that all the class action complaints be consolidated into one action and appointed Burg Simpson as one of the four co-lead firms to lead the consolidated class action against Norfolk Southern.

Consolidating individual claims into a single class action enables the plaintiffs’ attorneys to pool their resources and act in the best interests of the entire class. Burg Simpson has extensive experience in class actions and multidistrict litigation, making our firm a powerful advocate for the victims of the East Palestine train derailment.

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Attorneys working on the East Palestine train derailment class action lawsuit are investigating and collecting evidence of Norfolk Southern’s negligence leading up to the disaster. This includes:

  • Failure to inspect and maintain the tracks along which NS train 32N was traveling.
  • Inadequate maintenance and inspection of its railcars.
  • Negligent instruction, training, and supervision of employees.
  • Understaffing of trains.

UPDATE: Court Denies Motions to Dismiss the Class Action Complaint

Norfolk Southern, along with several defendants who owned railcars involved in the derailment, filed motions to dismiss the class action complaint on numerous legal grounds. On March 14, 2024, District Judge Pearson denied all the motions to dismiss. As a result, the class action complaint remains pending and can proceed against all defendants.

Learn How Burg Simpson Can Help

Residents and businesses in and around East Palestine, Ohio, have had their lives turned upside down since a Norfolk Southern train derailed in their backyard. Burg Simpson is honored to be representing the people in these communities in their fight for justice.

If you are a resident or business in or around East Palestine that wishes to find out more information about this class action lawsuit, dial 888-895-2080 or contact us online. Burg Simpson is standing by to take your call.

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