Victims to get $10.5 million

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AIKEN - A federal judge gave final approval Monday to a class action settlement that will pay at least $10.5 million to people seriously injured in the Graniteville train wreck two years ago.

The January 2005 Graniteville train wreck and chlorine leak killed nine and hurt hundreds. Norfolk Southern has reached its second class action settlement.  File/Staff
File/Staff
The January 2005 Graniteville train wreck and chlorine leak killed nine and hurt hundreds. Norfolk Southern has reached its second class action settlement.

Nearly a fifth of the people who have filed claims under the lawsuit already have been paid, said Carl Solomon, a Columbia attorney who represents victims.

With Judge Margaret Seymour's approval, this means Norfolk Southern is close to concluding legal action brought on when two of its trains collided Jan. 6, 2005, spilling 60 tons of chlorine gas into the air and killing nine people. Hundreds more were injured and thousands were forced to evacuate their homes for days.

This is the second class action settlement stemming from the wreck. The first, finalized in 2005, was for people with minor injuries and property damage.

This settlement is for those who had more serious injuries and were hospitalized, and includes emergency responders.

According to court documents, 479 people have filed claims under the settlement, and 104 of them already have been paid $4.1 million. An additional 35 have been offered payouts totalling nearly $6.5 million. The rest of the claims are being processed.

Hundreds more opted out of the settlement - which means they still can file individual lawsuits - but Mr. Solomon said many weren't eligible for the class action anyway.

There are five subclasses in the lawsuit, depending on where the person lived and the extent of the injuries. Those who were treated within 72 hours but not hospitalized make up the majority of the claims, but not the payouts. As of June 14, those who were hospitalized had been offered $7.2 million through the settlement.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman said the company still expects to pay out $41 million in compensation and damages. That's after the company's insurance foots part of the bill, he said, but he did not have the total amount.

Danny White, a Norfolk Southern attorney based in Greenville, said there are 25 individual lawsuits still pending against the company.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.

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pofwe
5
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pofwe 06/26/07 - 07:42 am
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Heads-up to all receiving

Heads-up to all receiving settlements. Beware; of Nigerians wanting you to double your money by sending half to them; unknown relatives that show-up with their hand out; home improvement salesmen that want money up front; snake oil hawkers; fortune tellers; preachers that you know or don't know; Marion Williams wanting to borrow tax money; ... etc ... Don't be like me ... "a fool & their money are soon parted." Consult the "entrepreneur Catfish" at the Warrenville Barber Shop, he can & will help you.

heartablazing69
0
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heartablazing69 06/26/07 - 08:36 am
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That's funny "Marion Williams

That's funny "Marion Williams wanting to borrow tax money"!!!!

sharpshooter
0
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sharpshooter 06/26/07 - 08:45 am
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(....and the rest of the

(....and the rest of the claims are being calculated.) Sounds like the money might not get to those folks. The 25 individual pending lawsuits must have a reserve from the general fund. It is good to see the money flowing to the victims of such a dangerous chemical spill.

TommyBoy
0
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TommyBoy 06/26/07 - 09:45 am
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Money will be gone in 6

Money will be gone in 6 months.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 06/26/07 - 10:59 am
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I hope the people that

I hope the people that legitimately deserve the money get it and the false claims should be given insurance fraud. The attorney with the class action suit will be making a lot of money from this tragedy.

iletuknow
7
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iletuknow 06/26/07 - 01:39 pm
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What a haul! Right place at

What a haul! Right place at the right time scores

And thats the way it is
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And thats the way it is 06/26/07 - 03:30 pm
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iletuknow you're a moron, I

iletuknow you're a moron, I worked in graniyeville in jan 05 and a man that worked for me almost died, in the hospital he was spitting green mucus (from the chlorine) for days, he laid down on the floor and knew he was dieing, he deserves all he ca get

naupan225
0
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naupan225 06/26/07 - 08:20 pm
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He "worked for you" and you

He "worked for you" and you can't spell! What a great Country we live in.

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