More first responders sue Conrail over derailment

Posted: August 09, 2013

Three more first responders to last year's train derailment in Paulsboro filed suit Wednesday against Conrail and its parent companies, raising fresh allegations against the companies that came to light last month during hearings with federal investigators.

The responders, who are police officers in Paulsboro and Greenwich Township, joined 15 other plaintiffs, including first responders, already involved in separate litigation against Conrail. At least 15 other suits have been filed against Conrail.

Four tanker cars fell off a Paulsboro bridge in November. One breached, releasing toxic vinyl chloride into the atmosphere and forcing hundreds from their homes.

The suit, filed in Superior Court by three firms - Williams, Cuker, Berezofsky, Cedar Law Firm, and Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky - alleges that Conrail ignored evidence that the bridge was not safe to pass. It seeks medical monitoring to detect illnesses that may develop later in life as well as punitive damages.

The suit says Conrail failed to warn the responders about the hazards of vinyl chloride, leaving them exposed to dangerous levels present in the atmosphere.

Conrail declined to comment. "We'll file our response at the appropriate time and in court," spokesman Michael Hotra said.

On Monday, Conrail asked a federal judge in Camden to dismiss a case filed by another first responder, from the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management. The company argued that the man had not presented any facts supporting allegations of injury.


Contact Andrew Seidman at 856-779-3846 or aseidman@phillynews.com.

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