Fifth negligence suit would expand area impacted by toxins from East Palestine derailment
A lot more people could claim they were victims of the East Palestine chemical train derailment if attorneys who filed the latest negligence lawsuit have their way.
Attorneys for Burg, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine have filed a class action complaint in federal court alleging that people who were within 30 miles of the derailment should be allowed to become plaintiffs in the legal action.
A map filed with the complaint shows a 30 mile radius that includes communities as far away as Columbiana, Lisbon, Salem, East Liverpool, Alliance, Boardman Youngstown, Austintown, Niles, and Hubbard in Ohio, as well as Aliquippa, Cranberry, Ellwood City, New Castle, New Wilmington, Sharon and Hermitage in Pennsylvania.
The previous four lawsuits filed suggested that an area of one to two miles from the derailment be permitted to become part of the class action.
The fifth complaint was filed by two men and a business in New Galilee, Pennsylvania, which is more than four miles from the scene of the derailment, which the lawsuit says released 1 million pounds of vinyl chloride.
The lawsuit claims that the controlled release of burning vinyl chloride on Monday sent hundreds of thousands of pounds of hydrochloric acid into the air.
According to the complaint, the smoke from the release was trapped from rising higher into the atmosphere due to an inversion layer at around 3,000 feet.
“In other words, the toxic plume from the mushroom cloud reached a level in the atmosphere where it was unable to continue to rise vertically, so it began to spread out horizontally in a thick cloud,” the suit alleges.
In addition, the complaint claims the smoke plume was blown to the south and east due to a northwest wind that was blowing over the fire, traveling at least as far as Bridgewater, Pennsylvania.
Like the other suits, the latest complaint asks for damages and coverage of the cost of medical monitoring for those impacted. However, this lawsuit is asking the courts to supervise a medical monitoring program either directly or through a court-supervised special master or trustee.
Norfolk Southern has yet to respond to any of the five lawsuits filed as of Friday.