Maryville residents file class action lawsuit against CSX after train derailment

Plaintiffs allege CSX was 'negligent and caused a nuisance.'

Aerial photo of the derailment.

MARYVILLE (WATE) – An attorney is seeking class action status for a lawsuit filed Friday for residents evacuated as a result of a CSX train derailment a little over a week ago.

Previous story: Thousands evacuated after train carrying toxic, flammable liquid catches fire in Blount County

Kevin W. Shepherd said he has filed the lawsuit along with affiliate law firm Bellovin and Karnas, P.C. Bellovin and Karnas, P.C., based out of Tucson, Arizona has prior experience with class action and toxic chemical tort litigation.

The suit names husband and wife Aaron and Kelli Johnson as plaintiffs and alleges CSX was “negligent and caused a nuisance resulting in evacuation.” The Johnsons were among the 5,000 people who had to evacuate when a train car containing toxic chemical acrylonitrile derailed on July 2.

WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with Jill Fox who said she disagrees with the class action lawsuit filed against CSX.

“I don’t think they were negligent at all. They were very quick to respond. They knew there was a possibility of severe consequences and they acted quickly to remove the people that were in the danger,” said Fox.

Others in the Maryville community like Justin Johnson who has six children would like some answers first.

“Was it a lack in responsibility from CSX to not maintenance their cars? Was it just an accident?,” said Johnson.

Web Extra: Read the full lawsuit [PDF]

Shepherd says the lawsuit is only to cover disruption and nuisance caused to people’s lives, not those who suffered physical injuries. He says that will result in separate lawsuits.

CSX says it is unable to comment on pending litigation.

Maryville, Alcoa and Blount County officials said Friday well water testing is still underway. Results for 83 of 112 wells are in and no new detections of the chemical acrylonitrile have been discovered. Levels remain elevated in one well near the derailment site. An advisory is still in place in the area.

CSX’s Community Outreach Center closes Friday at 5 p.m. After that, residents can request an application for compensation by calling 1-877-TELL-CSX.

Continuing Coverage: Maryville CSX Train Derailment

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