Recovery slow, legal woes linger one year after train disaster
As a cloud of black smoke choked the sky above East Palestine one year ago, the plans of many of its residents seemed to go with it.
"I can't believe we haven't made more headway than we have," says Anna Doss, who owns a gas station and state liquor store right next to where the derailment happened. Her plans saw her niece take over the business. Twelve months later, her reality looks nothing like those plans.
"This would've been the year that was to have occurred...she and her fiance', they decided to move out of town," said Doss. "My sales were down a quarter in 2023 versus '22. (I) lost employees because of it, lost customers because of it, there's people that will not return to our town because of the derailment, because of the effects that could occur."
So now, instead of retiring, Doss says there's no telling how much longer she'll have to keep working.
She's since become part of a federal class action lawsuit.
One of the lawyers who filed it told 21 News she expects an outcome that will help Anna Doss and others impacted by the disaster finally move forward.
"Things were made easier for us once we had the ability to review the underlying data showing some of the sample results that were taken initially at the derailment and the following weeks thereafter," Jo Anna Pollock with Simmons Hanly Conroy LLP said via Zoom. "That's helped us establish and make the connections that we need."
But for Anna Doss it's hard to see past the aftermath.
All she says she can do is her best to salvage a future the derailment stole right out from under her.
The trial for that class action lawsuit is scheduled for November 4 in the Youngstown office of federal court.
Judge Benita Pearson will be hearing the case.
Editor's note: The story corrects the spelling of Attorney Pollock's name.