Norfolk Southern settles second suit in Graniteville disaster

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

October 25, 2006

Tonight, folks in Graniteville say no amount of money can replace a life.

Norfolk Southern agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit involving the deadly train wreck and chemical spill in January 2005.

The latest settlement is for people who were injured and had medical treatment.

Most people in Graniteville would rather have their health than the money any day.

A sign erected just a block and a half away from Virginia Hatley memorializes the lives lost there last year.

"That's going to always be in my mind as long as I live here," Virginia told News 12.

Nine lives were lost in the Graniteville train collision and chlorine release. Nearly 550 more people were injured.

Carol Gregory hasn't been the same since.

"I know I'm sicker than I ever was," she said. "I know my child is sicker than he ever was."

This week, Norfolk Southern reached a tentative settlement for a class action lawsuit involving personal injury because of the deadly chlorine release.

The settlement based on how much time victims spent in the hospital and certain types of lung disorders people now have because of breathing chlorine.

"If I had all the money they had...they ought to compensate, because we didn't ask for this," Virginia said. "Nobody in this town did."

People who live in Graniteville say the sign means a lot, but neither that nor the money from Norfolk Southern can replace what they've lost.

"My uncle died because of that wreck," Virginia said. "You can't bring him back. He's worth more money in the world."

"It's going to affect us for a long time," Carole said.

No details were released about how much victims could get.

A federal judge still has to approve the deal.

This does not include claims from another suit settled last year.


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