Lead attorneys: East Palestine residents shouldn't throw away Kroll mailers

Attorneys say that East Palestine residents who receive this settlement packet from Kroll Settlement Administration LLC should consider it legitimate. Kroll was approved by the U.S. District Court to handle claims regarding the $600 million class-action settlement with Norfolk Southern.
Attorneys say that East Palestine residents who receive this settlement packet from Kroll Settlement Administration LLC should consider it legitimate. Kroll was approved by the U.S. District Court to handle claims regarding the $600 million class-action settlement with Norfolk Southern.

EAST PALESTINE ‒ Lead attorneys say more than 2,100 claims have been submitted that seek part of the $600 million settlement with Norfolk Southern.

However, they say they've encountered misconceptions at the East Palestine Settlement Center, which opened June 3 at 191 E. Rebecca St. The attorneys think some residents might be throwing away important information, thinking that it's junk mail.

The lead attorneys for the victims are Jayne Conroy; Seth A. Katz of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine; M. Elizabeth Graham of Grant & Eisenhofer; and T. Michael Morgan of Morgan & Morgan.

A man walks on North Market Street in downtown East Palestine on Thursday, January 25, 2024. A train derailed near Market Market Street a year ago when a mechanical issue with a rail car axle caused a fiery accident. Fifty cars derailed and 11 were carrying hazardous materials.
A man walks on North Market Street in downtown East Palestine on Thursday, January 25, 2024. A train derailed near Market Market Street a year ago when a mechanical issue with a rail car axle caused a fiery accident. Fifty cars derailed and 11 were carrying hazardous materials.

"We urge anyone with questions about the settlement to go to the claims assistance center. Responses from residents so far have been very positive. We look forward to helping as many people as possible through this important process and to help determine the best course of action that will benefit affected claimants," the attorneys said in a joint statement.

Here are the Top 4 misconceptions they've encountered so far, and their responses to them:

  • Personal injury payment. People think they must have seen a doctor and/or have a specific diagnosis to receive a personal injury payment. That is false. If you live within the radius, you are deemed exposed, you have a presumed injury and are eligible for the payment. If you go to the doctor and are diagnosed with health issues from the incident, you would be eligible for a larger payment.

  • Kroll packets. People are confusing claims form packets from Kroll, the settlement administrator, as junk mail or solicitations. They're not. Kroll is the court-approved settlement administrator and those forms are necessary to maximize compensation. If you have questions about the packets, including whether they're real, contact the claims center on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Also, you don't need to hire your own lawyer.

  • Public benefits. People are worried that they'll lose their public benefits if they accept the settlement payments. The attorneys and claims administrator will have financial advisers available at the center to walk claimants through these issues and advise if there are ways to preserve benefits.

  • Ohio elected officials are critical of settlement. Elected officials have been supportive overall but there is a lot of confusion about the multiple Norfolk settlements. The $600 million class-action settlement is to help residents and business owners affected by the 2023 train derailment. A separate $310 million settlement involving the federal government has been criticized. Not this one.

Earlier this year, the lead attorneys and Norfolk Southern agreed in principle to a $600 million, class-action settlement over the Feb. 3, 2023, disaster in East Palestine. U.S. District Court Judge Benita Pearson in Youngstown granted preliminary approval of the settlement in May, allowing the attorneys to start the claims process. The final approval hearing is Sept. 25.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Attorneys want East Palestine residents to retain Kroll settlement packets

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