Search Site
Main Office : 125 St Pauls Blvd, Ste 510, Norfolk, Virginia 23510   |   8 Hampton Roads Meeting Locations
Free Consultation Call or Text 24/7 757.455.0077
Virginia Injury Blog
Multiple Lawsuits Are Filed in Tennessee Over CSX Chemical Fire

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Multiple Lawsuits Are Filed in Tennessee Over CSX Chemical Fire

Every day the railroads transport hazardous chemicals and explosive substances near homes and businesses. These potentially-lethal cargoes are contained in tanker cars that are prone to rupture while the railroads have a poor record of keeping people who live near the tracks and first responders informed.

We are now seeing the extent of this apparent failure in a raft of lawsuits that have been filed in Blount County in Tennessee where a CSX train derailed last year.

CSX tanker cars are vulnerable

Tank cars used by CSX are prone to rupture as at Lynchburg


Just over a year ago in Maryville near Knoxville, a train carrying a flammable liquid derailed. It caught fire and forced thousands of people to leave their homes.

The train was carrying acrylonitrile, a toxic chemical which produces poisonous hydrogen cyanide when it is ignited.

The ongoing health concerns have prompted a raft of lawsuits in Blount County as CSX Transportation and Union Tank Car Co. are sued for $104 million.

As an experienced railroad crash injury lawyer, I know how devastating a derailment of a train containing chemicals can be. I worked with the victims of the Norfolk Southern crash in Graniteville, SC after a derailment in 2005 caused a chlorine gas spill and claimed the lives of nine people.

The lawsuits brought against CSX in Blount County include a wrongful death suit which blames the railroad for the death of a firefighter.

According to media reports, the widow of Blount County Fire Capt. James “Jim” Patty Jr., has filed a lawsuit against CSX, Union Tank Car Co., and the two men who were operating the train. More than 50 people who filed a mass tort lawsuit also named the two men.

The mass tort lawsuit has been filed by residents from Maryville, Greenback and Louisville. It seeks $80 million in personal, property and punitive damages.

Did CSX Fail to Warn First Firefighters of Dangerous Chemicals in Blount County Derailment?

The $20 million lawsuit that has been filed by Patty’s widow alleges CSX failed to warn firefighters who attended the derailment of the dangerous nature of the chemical that was leaking from the train.

The claims says CSX failed to timely notify responders that the burning tank car contained acrylonitrile and they were not informed until two hours after they attended the fire.

By then it was too late for Patty. The complaint says the firefighter had been exposed to toxic smoke and vapors from the ruptured tanker car for several hours.

Patty was asked to identify the numbers from the burning car. He sustained severe injuries to his lungs, throat and other internal organs. He remained hospitalized for months and died in October, the suit states.

The lawsuit makes for shocking reading and my thoughts are with the family of this deceased firefighter. First responders do a heroic job. The risks increase tenfold if they are not given the full facts before attending an incident.

This is not the first time the level of information given by CSX to first responders has been questioned. The fire official who led the response to the 2014 oil train derailment and fire in Lynchburg, Virginia, told investigators it took two hours for the company’s representative to arrive at a command post after the crash.

By all accounts, Lynchburg dodged a bullet. There was nobody nearby when the train derailed and the burning cars fell into the river where the fire was extinguished.

The railroad companies have been accused of excessive secrecy over the routes taken by trains carrying dangerous chemicals and flammable crude oil – substances that are transported in DOT-111 tanker cars and labelled “soda cans” by critics because they are so easily punctured and crumpled in a derailment.

Many of these chemicals have a recommended evacuation distance of 5-10 miles. Yet they are transported through the hearts of cities and other smaller communities like Maryville.

Our railroad accident lawyers help people who have been harmed by the actions or inactions of the railroads whether people living in communities by the tracks, passengers, railroad workers, first responders or drivers and passengers hurt or killed on inadequate grade crossings. Call us today for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

View Full Bio
Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

View Full Bio
Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

View Full Bio
    • Spring Raffle
      Enter to win a $75 Food Lion Gift Card!

      In the spirit of spring, warm weather, and delicious food Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers is excited to give away TEN $75 Food Lion gift cards to get your outdoor grilling started. To enter the raffle just click the button below. Contest Ends June 1st.

      Don’t forget to add your information so we are able to contact you if you win. Good Luck!

    • Recent Blogs Pedestrian Accidents in Hampton – Man is Seriously injured on Old Buckroe Road

      Pedestrian accidents in Hampton often make news headlines. The city on the Virginia Peninsula suffers from bad congestion and many streets are not easy to cross…. Read More »


      Read More
    • Download our FREE e-books

      At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we understand that the law is confusing. Learn about what to do after an accident. Explore our collection of FREE e-books.

      View Free E-Books
    • 2018 Scholarship Award

      Cooper Hurley awards three $2,000 college scholarships annually to high school seniors in the Tidewater and Eastern Shore areas of Virginia. Eligible students can submit an essay of 500 to 1,000 words on the subject of Distracted Driving. We established this program to aid worthy scholars and to raise awareness of the tragic consequences of distracted driving, which we encounter too often in our practice.

      Learn More
    Contact Us

    Please fill out form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    8 Hampton Roads Meeting Locations

    Use the map below to find the location closest to you

    View more