Derailment in East Palestine, Ohio Sparks Legal Action

Last Sunday, a massive derailment near the small village of East Palestine, Ohio, sent 50 cars full of toxic chemicals off their tracks and triggered a fire that burned for days.[0] The resulting evacuation of the nearly 5,000 residents of the area has raised serious concerns regarding air and water quality as they return home. In addition, five tankers, filled with vinyl chloride, a colorless gas linked to various cancers, were released and burned in order to prevent a much more dangerous explosion.

Four class action lawsuits have already been filed against Norfolk Southern Railway, the rail operator responsible for the derailment.[1] The lawsuits allege negligence on the part of the company, and seek damages for the residents of East Palestine who were forced to evacuate and exposed to hazardous chemicals.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation into the derailment, believes it was caused by a mechanical issue with one of the rail car axles.[2] The agency received an alert shortly before the derailment indicating the mechanical issue and the crew initiated an emergency brake application.[3] The NTSB is expected to release its preliminary findings within 30 days.[3]

0. “Toxic train derailment in East Palestine, OH highlights issues facing America’s railways” Popular Science, 13 Feb. 2023,

1. “The Ohio train derailment underscores the dangers of the plastics boom” Grist, 10 Feb. 2023,

2. “Footage showing a fiery axle 20 miles before East Palestine train derailment raises questions about alert timing” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10 Feb. 2023,

3. “Video shows sparks and flames 20 miles before train derailment in East Palestine” CBS Pittsburgh, 10 Feb. 2023,