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Home > Firm News > Burg Simpson Shareholder, Seth A. Katz, Appointed to Lead East Palestine Train Derailment Litigation

Burg Simpson Shareholder, Seth A. Katz, Appointed to Lead East Palestine Train Derailment Litigation

April 7, 2023 | 3 min read

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., announces that Shareholder Seth A. Katz has been appointed Co-Lead and Interim Class Counsel to represent plaintiffs in the case against Norfolk Southern Railway Company, stemming from the train derailment that occurred in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, 2023.   Others within Burg Simpson will work closely with Mr. Katz on this case, including Burg Simpson Shareholder Melanie Bailey. 

Seth A. Katz
Melanie Bailey

On the evening of February 3, 2023, 38 cars of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed approximately 1 mile west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, including 5 cars transporting vinyl chloride.  After several days of the derailed cars being on fire, Norfolk Southern decided to perform a controlled release and burn, releasing over one million pounds of vinyl chloride, benzene residue, and other toxic materials into the environment.  Vinyl Chloride is a known carcinogen.  The NTSB has stated that this derailment was 100% preventable. 

On February 9, 2023, Burg Simpson and Grant & Eisenhofer filed a class action complaint seeking damages on behalf of those individuals and businesses in the communities impacted by the train derailment and ensuing environmental release, including the establishment of a medical monitoring program.  The impacted communities extend for miles beyond East Palestine and into Pennsylvania.  Since the derailment, more than 30 lawsuits have been filed, almost all of which have been transferred to the Honorable Benita Y. Pearson in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Youngstown, Ohio.  

On April 5, 2023, Judge Pearson appointed Seth A. Katz as Co-Lead and Interim Class Counsel along with Beth Graham (of Grant & Eisenhofer) and Jayne Conroy (of Simmons Hanley Conroy).  The Court also appointed Mike Morgan (of Morgan & Morgan) as Co-Lead counsel.  Interim Class Counsel and Co-Lead Counsel have been charged with managing the putative class actions and the individual actions that have been filed.  As part of her ruling, Judge Pearson found that the appointed lawyers have demonstrated the qualifications, experience, and commitment to adequately represent the putative class and noted that “[t]he appointment of interim class counsel is critically important in a case of this nature, as it is an ongoing event affecting potentially thousands of residents, property owners, and businesses in East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding area, all of whom are members of the putative classes that have been proposed.”

The Court has ordered that the Plaintiffs file their Amended Class Action Complaint by May 4th, which will be the operative complaint and allegations going forward. 

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About Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. 

One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. has a reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Burg Simpson has secured more than $1 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, personal injury, explosions, commercial litigation and whistleblowers, construction defects, workers’ compensation, and product liability, including more than 100 recoveries in excess of $1 million. For over 4 decades, the toxic exposure attorneys at Burg Simpson have fought hard to protect families and businesses who have been negatively impacted by fatal explosions and toxic exposure across the country. The lawyers at Burg Simpson possess experience in successfully investigating and litigating fire and explosion cases all over the country, including states such as Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. They routinely combine their exhaustive knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations with an extensive network of engineers, fire scientists, and utility-industry experts. This approach has enabled Burg Simpson to take on some of the largest corporate entities in the world and hold them to account for their roles in bringing about preventable injuries, death, and property damage.

The firm was founded in 1976 by distinguished American trial lawyer Michael Burg, an inductee in the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award. Mr. Burg has been named to the 2016 RoundTable: America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by The Trial Lawyer magazine; Barrister’s Best as “Best Civil Litigator”; and one of “America’s 50 Leading Trial Lawyers” by The U.S. Legal 500. Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. has 7 offices and award-winning lawyers throughout the United States.

Burg Simpson: Good Lawyers, Changing Lives®.

CONTACT: Seth A. Katz, Burg Simpson, [email protected]