Fayette Co. residents file suit against CSX for February derailment

By Chris Dickerson | Sep 2, 2015

WAYNE – Nearly 100 Fayette County residents have filed a lawsuit against CSX over a February trail derailment that resulted in spilled oil and evacuations.

The 96 people filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Wayne Circuit Court against CSX Corporation and CSX Transportation Inc.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages from the Feb. 16 accident at Mount Carbon near the Kanawha-Fayette county line. They claim the defendants were negligent in operating the train that had two locomotives and 109 tanker cars that was headed from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va.

The derailment of 14-17 of the tanker cars spilled thousands of gallons of “highly flammable” Bakken crude oil onto the ground and into the Kanawha River, the complaint states. “Several explosions and fires occurred as a direct result of the train derailment. Approximately 300 families had to be evacuated.”

The plaintiffs say water service was interrupted for several adjacent communities, including Montgomery, Smithers, Cannelton, London, Handley and Hughes Creek.

They claim the defendants failed to properly inspect and maintain the trains, tracks, cars and contents, leading to the derailment and spill. They say the breathed the harmful chemicals, were exposed to the chemicals, were evacuated, incurred medical expenses, lost wages and have had expenses to clean the contamination.

The plaintiffs say they suffered damages from interruption of normal personal pursuits and business activities and opportunities. That includes having to purchase water as well as lost income and evacuation. They also claim loss of use, annoyance and inconvenience as a result of the inadequate amounts of water left in the system after intakes were closed.

They accuse CSX of negligence, public nuisance, private nuisance and trespass. And they say they will require medical monitoring.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, attorney fees, court costs, pre- and post-judicial interest, past and future medical monitoring and other relief. They also seek punitive damages, saying CSX’s conduct was willful, wanton and reckless.

They are being represented by Charleston attorney Rod Jackson and Charleston attorney Travis A. Griffith as well as Mark Bryant and Emily Roark of Bryant Law Center in Paducah, Ky., and Calvin C. Fayard Jr., D. Blayne Honeycutt and Wanda J. Edwards of Fayard & Honeycutt APC in Denham Springs, La.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James Young.

Wayne Circuit Court case number: 15-C-165

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