FAYETTEVILLE – Two Fayette County businesses have filed the first lawsuit related to the Feb. 16 train derailment that sent a fireball into the sky and threatened the water supply.
Frank’s Pizza and Not Frank’s Pizza filed the potential class action suit Wednesday in Fayette Circuit Court.
Frank’s Pizza, owner Todd Webb, Not Frank’s Pizza and owner Barry Blackburn are the plaintiffs. The defendants are CSX Corporation, CSX Transportation Inc. and West Virginia-American Water Company.
In the 10-page complaint, the plaintiffs say CSX and CSXT negligently operated a train comprised of two locomotives and 109 tanker cars headed from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va., causing 14-17 cars to derail and spill thousands of gallons of Bakken crude oil onto the ground and into the Kanawha River.
Fires burned for hours Monday after the train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in Mount Carbon near the Fayette County border with Kanawha County. One tanker plunged into the Kanawha River, ignited 14 tankers and sparked a house fire, officials said. No one was seriously injured, and about 200 people were evacuated.
The plaintiffs in the suit say WVAWC became aware of the incident shortly after it occurred and failed to timely respond. They say the water company shut down the intakes at the Montgomery Treatment Plant, leaving little water available for use. As a result, service for Montgomery, Smithers, Cannelton, London, Handley and Hughes Creek was interrupted.
Because of this, the plaintiff companies claim they had to close their restaurants and suffered economic losses.
The complaint accuses the defendants of negligence, public nuisance and private nuisance. It also states that there are more than 100,000 potential class action members.
The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys fees, filing fees, other court costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief.
The plaintiffs are represented by James C. Peterson, R. Edison Hill and Aaron L. Harrah of Hill Peterson Carper Bee & Deitzler in Charleston, Anthony Majestro of Powell & Majestro in Charleston, Timothy C. Bailey and Mark A. Burney of Bucci Bailey & Javins in Charleston and Anthony M. Salvatore of Hewitt & Salvatore in Fayetteville.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge John W. Hatcher.
Fayette Circuit Court case number: 15-C-44