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Pittsburgh firm's class action lawsuit includes anyone harmed within 30-mile radius of East Palestine train derailment

Pittsburgh firm's class action lawsuit includes anyone harmed within 30 mile radius of East Palestin
Pittsburgh firm's class action lawsuit includes anyone harmed within 30 mile radius of East Palestin 02:53

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A well-known Pittsburgh law firm has filed a class action lawsuit for damages caused by the East Palestine train derailment.

As KDKA money editor Jon Delano explains, the lawsuit specifically alleges damages to residents and businesses in Pennsylvania.

"We were the first class action, maybe the only at this point, to have as our named plaintiffs residents of Beaver County," says attorney Brad Trust, a partner at Edgar Snyder and Associates.

Trust has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of two residents and a business in New Galilee, Beaver County. He says the class includes anyone harmed within 30 miles of the Norfolk Southern derailment

Why 30 miles?

"It's based upon evidence from our experts at this point, and it's based upon what I call a zone of danger," says Trust. "We believe that those residents and business owners that are within that 30-mile radius could potentially be exposed to hazardous toxins, vinyl chloride and other toxins that have been released as a result of the train derailment."

That 30-mile radius extends into Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and even part of Allegheny County. Trust says it's too early to know who has been harmed and it may be years before we know the full impact.

So what exactly are the damages?

"Certainly, we know that people within this 30-mile zone are experiencing respiratory problems, irritations, watering eyes, things along those lines. But there's a whole other group of damages that people are going to suffer, including loss of business income, loss of value of real estate."

With multiple class action lawsuits being filed by various attorneys, the trust says the court will ultimately certify which suit and attorneys best represent the class.

"Once a class is certified, those members of the public that are identified as being potential class members will get notification of their right to opt in or out of the class action settlement," says Trust.

Both Trust and others say if you want to be a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit, consult a lawyer whose advice you value.  But don't act precipitously.

"Class action lawsuits have their ups and downs to them," says Myron Aronwitt, the Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action. "I would certainly think that anyone who is considering that route should think about it carefully, but not rush, not rush into something."

The Edgar Snyder lawsuit now includes Ohio residents along with dozens from Pennsylvania, says Trust, and these suits are likely to grow as more people determine their harm.

But don't expect a quick resolution. Most class actions take at least two to three years to settle.  

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