East Palestine Litigation Committee Update: Plakas Mannos Elected to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in East Palestine Train Derailment Litigation
Updates on the East Palestine Litigation Committee: Following the catastrophic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, 2023, more than 20 class actions were filed against Norfolk Southern on behalf of those affected. So that these cases may be administered as efficiently and consistently as possible, the cases have been consolidated and will proceed as if they were one lawsuit on behalf of all residents, businesses, and property owners damaged by the derailment.
As part of this effort to consolidate and streamline the lawsuits, recently, the Court has coordinated with the various attorneys involved in order to create a leadership structure that can best represent the interests of all the individuals and/or businesses impacted. As part of this leadership structure, our office, through Attorney Gary Corroto, has been appointed to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. As a member of the Steering Committee, we will be responsible for guiding both the preparations and strategy throughout the legal process. We will be routinely meeting with other members of the Steering Committee to plan strategy, assign work, and assure that everyone’s interests are well represented.
Forum 360 Interview with Attorney Gary Corroto
Recently, Attorney Gary Corroto appeared on Forum 360, hosted by Sally Henning, in order to shed some light on this ongoing situation. Importantly, Attorney Corroto focused on the yet unknown impacts of the derailment upon the community and how such concerns can be addressed. As Attorney Corroto pointed out, due to the nature of this accident, there are several chemical combinations that may have occurred, which may have created new hazardous contaminants. The exposure to such contaminants can likely have effects years down the road that may yet be unknown to health officials. Further, there are additional concerns as to how the exposure to such chemicals is affecting livestock in the area and how it may affect expectant mothers as well.
In order to alleviate such concerns, Attorney Corroto proposed several safety measures that could and should be implemented. First, the testing of both the air and water is occurring only within the immediate vicinity of the derailment. Such testing should be expanded as thousands in the surrounding area were potentially affected. Second, the medical testing for individuals should be readily accessible and comprehensive in nature. Such specialized testing is critical as a general physician in the area would not possess the adequate expertise to test for specialized, hazardous chemicals in one’s bloodstream.
In terms of what can happen moving forward, Attorney Corroto suggested additional speed regulations, more stringent testing and safety requirements, investing more money in inspectors, and providing proper personal protective equipment. Additionally, Attorney Corroto stressed the need for Norfolk Southern to update their safety equipment and alarm systems so that the relevant personnel are notified when something is wrong.