New Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of 394 Residents in Maryville Train Derailment

Lawsuits for 394 people were filed in Blount County Circuit Court in Maryville, Tennessee June 29 seeking nuisance and property damages from the July 2, 2015 derailment and fire involving a CSX freight train. The Bryant Law Center has joined law firms in Knoxville, Birmingham, Asheville and Louisiana in representing the plaintiffs against CSX and Union Tank Car Co.

Plaintiffs filing the suits are seeking more than $25,000 each for damages alleged to include loss of income, aggravation, property damage, inconvenience, mental anguish, fear and fright. Federal investigators said the derailment occurred when a large roller bearing overheated, causing the axle to break. The damaged car was dragged for about nine miles before it caught fire and the burning contents released cyanide gas for several hours.

The resulting fire and smoke forced the evacuation of 5,000 people, and closed down industries and businesses within a 2 mile radius. About 90 people were treated at local hospitals for exposure to the cyanide gas.

Separate lawsuits have been filed for plaintiffs who suffered personal injury. Another lawsuit was filed on behalf of several local first responders who alleged they were injured by the fumes. Yet another suit was filed on behalf of a local volunteer fire captain who was overcome by the fumes and later died of injuries his estate claims resulted from the cyanide exposure.

A U.S. District Court jury earlier this year in Knoxville awarded six representative plaintiffs $13,213 in damages in the first evacuation and inconvenience cases to go to trial.

Individual lawsuits were filed after a federal judge did not grant class-action status to the original lawsuit and the bellwether trial results this year did not resolve the case. CSX settled prior to that trial. Union Rank Car was the only defendant at trial. The jurors found Union Tank car 40 percent responsible for the damages.