YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Blackhawk School District in Beaver County, Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of students and staff impacted by the derailment. It accuses Norfolk Southern of releasing toxic chemicals into the air and onto the ground with no regard for the Blackhawk School District, its students or staff.
Blackhawk facilities are within 15 miles of East Palestine and include students from Beaver and Lawrence counties.
Tom King, the attorney who represents the district, said the controlled burn days after the initial accident traveled directly into the Blackhawk School District.
“These chemicals and materials were all dumped onto Plaintiff’s buildings, soil, land and water supply,” the complaint said.
King says the lawsuit demands Norfolk Southern commit to cleaning up that “lethal cocktail” of chemicals it dumped on the district’s properties.
“We believe that there should be monitoring going on to ensure that the health and safety are maintained of the kids in the Blackhawk School District and that they’re protected from future events in which we had no control, no part and weren’t consulted, frankly,” he said.
The lawsuit alleges negligence in the operation of the railroad, the derailment and subsequent vent and burn of vinyl chloride and negligence per se in connection to allegations that the train operated with a broken axle.
The lawsuit claims the district was harmed in many ways such as health issues and medical issues, testing of water and property, and the cleanup for both. It is also claiming that the evacuation was costly and the contamination has cost them the enjoyment of its property because of increased risk of disease.
The lawsuit said that Norfolk is strictly to blame for all of this saying it “engaged in abnormally dangerous and ultrahazardous activity,” and it created a public nuisance.
The district is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees, including interest in addition to money for future medical monitoring.