Norfolk Southern Putative Class Action Dismissed

Skadden successfully represented firm client Norfolk Southern Railway Company in the dismissal of a putative class action brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in connection with a January 2005 train derailment. The incident included a tanker rupturing and releasing chlorine gas into the air, killing nine people in Graniteville, S.C., and causing an evacuation of 5,400 residents. Plaintiffs sought damages on behalf of a class of people living up to five miles from the scene of the derailment based on theories of negligence, private and public nuisance, and strict liability. On January 20, Judge Margaret Seymour granted the dismissal of plaintiffs' fourth amended complaint and entered judgment in favor of Norfolk Southern. This also terminated as moot the fully briefed motion for class certification that had been pending.