Norfolk Southern Agrees to Settlement in Graniteville Lawsuit

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. – Norfolk Southern is asking a federal judge to approve a class settlement to a lawsuit filed after a Jan. 6, 2005, derailment that left nine people dead.

The Norfolk, Va. -based company filed a motion in South Carolina federal court proposing a settlement that “would provide varying levels of compensation for people who were injured and who received medical treatment or were hospitalized as a result of the derailment and subsequent release of chlorine,” the railroad said in a news release.

On Jan. 6, 2005, a northbound Norfolk Southern Railway freight train encountered an improperly lined switch that diverted the train from the main line onto an industry track where it struck an unoccupied, parked train.

Among the derailed cars were three tank cars containing chlorine, one of which was breached, releasing chlorine gas. The train engineer and eight other people died as a result of chlorine gas inhalation.

The settlement agreement, which is subject to court approval, is for claims that were not part of a previous class settlement approved last year covering property damage, evacuation expenses and losses and minor personal injuries, the railroad said.

Norfolk Southern reached the agreement with plaintiffs’ counsel in October and now has finalized the details.

– Staff and wire reports