Attorney warning East Palestine residents about $1,000 Norfolk Southern ‘payments’

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 1:54 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 12:02 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -A Cleveland attorney is warning East Palestine residents about a $1,000 check being offered to people as an “inconvenience fee” from Norfolk Southern (NS).

On Friday, Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern train derailed just outside of East Palestine which caused an evacuation and ultimately an environmental disaster.

Michael J. O’Shea from the Lipson O’Shea Legal Group, is representing residents in a lawsuit against the railroad and is worried about the reason behind the checks.

“We have some clients from the East Palestine area affected by the train accident who are being approached by NS with $1,000 checks for an “inconvenience fee,”” O’Shea said in an email. “We think this is a sly way of getting these poor folks to waive any future claims against NS.”

In fact, O’Shea has draw up an agreement he is asking Norfolk Southern to sign.

In that agreement it states, “Any amounts that the Claimant may have already accepted from the Company for any items such as “reimbursement” payments or “inconvenience” payments shall not, directly or indirectly, be construed as any possible waiver of any aspect of any claim that the Claimant may have now or in the future against the Company for the Incident or issues related to the Incident.”

In a statement from Norfolk Southern obtained by Cleveland 19 a spokesperson said people accepting money does not keep them from settlements in the future.

“This compensation is designed to provide immediate help to residents of East Palestine that were affected by the derailment and evacuation. Accepting money from Norfolk Southern as a reimbursement for expenses incurred during the evacuation order or the inconvenience payments for residents ordered to evacuate is not a settlement of any future claim against Norfolk Southern,” the statement said.