Press Release

$600 Million Settlement Reached in East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Litigation 

Agreement-in-principle to provide compensation for thousands of households, businesses, property owners and workers

Youngstown, OH (April 9 2024) – Court-appointed plaintiffs’ counsel spearheading the litigation against Norfolk Southern arising out of the Feb 3, 2023 derailment of Train 32N and its aftermath announced that an agreement-in-principle has been reached with the company, via a $600 million class action settlement. 
The agreement-in-principle provides for payment to residents and businesses in East Palestine and the affected surrounding communities, subject to court approval. The agreement also includes a voluntary program to compensate individuals for past, present and future personal injuries resulting from exposure to the chemicals involved. The money being paid to the class to bring closure to the litigation is in addition to any monies that Norfolk Southern has previously made available through community assistance and other payments. 
“This resolution comes shortly after the one-year anniversary of the disaster and will provide substantial compensation to all affected residents, property owners, employees and businesses residing, owning or otherwise having a legal interest in property, working, owning or operating a business for damages resulting from the derailment and release of chemicals,” said Seth A. Katz of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., M. Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC and T. Michael Morgan of Morgan & Morgan, P.A. 
It comes after a year of intense investigation, depositions and expert analysis, all of which occurred in a compressed timeframe. 
“We thank the Judge overseeing the litigation, the Honorable Benita Pearson, for her diligence and guidance, holding the parties to strict deadlines to reach a resolution or prepare the case for trial,” said the attorneys. 
Although the main settlement terms have been agreed upon, certain details of the settlement agreement need to be finalized, including working with experts to determine an allocation formula that provides the highest levels of compensation to the residents closest to the derailment site and the most efficient manner to process claims and distribute funds. 
If the Court preliminarily approves the settlement, residents will receive formal notice of the settlement, including claims forms and additional information about the terms. 
“We want to make the claims process as easy and efficient as possible, with the hopes of getting initial payments out by the end of this year,” said Katz, Graham, Conroy and Morgan. “The claims process will consider specific factors such as location relative to the derailment, household membership, the length of any displacement, exposure to contaminants and the like.” 
If approved by the Court, the settlement will resolve all plaintiff cases consolidated before the Federal court in Youngstown. The separate actions for the environmental cleanup brought by state and Federal agencies are not resolved by this settlement and are still pending.
“We believe this is a fair, reasonable and adequate result for the community on a number of levels, not the least of which is the speed of the resolution, and the overall amount of the awards residents can expect, which will be significant for those most impacted by the derailment,” said Katz, Graham, Conroy and Morgan. 


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