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Lawsuit filed against CSX following train derailment in eastern Kentucky


A lawsuit has been filed in Eastern Kentucky District Court by law firm Morgan & Morgan against railroad company CSX, following last week’s train derailment in Rockcastle County.

It alleges the derailment and chemical fire was because of negligence on the part of CSX.

“First responders to this catastrophe worked diligently for 24 hours to extinguish the fire, while putting themselves at risk of being exposed to potentially deadly chemicals and toxins,” Morgan & Morgan attorney Jean Martin said in a release. “We will hold all those accountable for this disaster responsible for their negligence, and will secure justice for those whose lives and homes have been endangered.”

The railroad company said the derailment happened because of a failed wheel bearing, which overheated past 170 degrees. The lawsuit argues CSX did not place trackside heat detectors close enough together on the train's route, and violated federal inspection regulations.

The two plaintiffs named in the filing say they’ve been exposed to “high levels of toxic chemicals” as a result. That includes Lauren Webb, a Livingston firefighter, and Debbie Francisco, who lives one mile from the derailment site. Morgan and Morgan is seeking a class action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs want relief for punitive damages and damages related to emotional distress, loss of property value and increased risk of future illness.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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