RPWB, LLC Secures Settlement in Avondale Mills v. Norfolk Southern Lawsuit
Mount Pleasant, S.C. — Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC (RPWB) in conjunction with the Atlanta-based law firm of King & Spalding announced that a confidential settlement has been reached in the Avondale Mills v. Norfolk Southern case.
The case arose from the 2005 Norfolk Southern train derailment and massive chlorine spill in Graniteville, SC. The derailment resulted when a Norfolk Southern freight train was unexpectedly thrown off the main line by a switch that had been left improperly lined into an industry track the railroad used to deliver products into Avondale's textile mill. Hours before the derailment, a different Norfolk Southern crew had failed to properly line that switch and subsequently certified that the track was safe and secure for the next train to use.
A tanker car carrying chlorine gas ruptured in the pile-up and sent nearly 50 tons of chlorine gas through the Avondale Mills facility and throughout the town of Graniteville, SC. A total of nine people died as a result of the accident and at least 250 were treated at local hospitals for chlorine exposure.
Due to the chlorine contamination, Avondale Mills suffered extensive equipment failures and ultimately went out of business. The lawsuit sought $420 million in compensatory damages, and Avondale Mills contended that Norfolk Southern engaged in reckless conduct that justified punitive damages.
RPWB partner Terry Richardson, Jr., was lead counsel in the litigation. Richardson says, "We are proud that we were able to reach this settlement for our client. Railroad companies owe a duty to the public to operate in a proper manner and according to federal standards. When they breach that duty, they should be held accountable for the injuries and damages incurred."
The confidential settlement was reached after three years of litigation and a month of trial held in federal court in Columbia, SC.
RPWB is one of the leading complex litigation firms in the country, with extensive experience in railroad litigation as well as tobacco, asbestos, securities fraud, pharmaceutical and other complex litigation and mass torts. The firm has locations in Charleston, Mt. Pleasant and Barnwell, South Carolina.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mason Scott