CSX Hit by $2.5 Billion Jury Verdict

Article excerpt

A New Orleans jury yesterday decided that CSX Transportation

should pay a whopping $2.5 billion in punitive damages for a

1987 tank car fire that forced thousands of residents to flee

their homes.

Officials at Jacksonville-based CSXT said the railroad will

appeal.

The jury verdict "is clearly not consistent with the facts,"

CSX Transportation Inc. President and Chief Executive Pete

Carpenter said in a prepared statement. "CSXT handled the

leaking car in complete accordance with very stringent federal

safety standards."

A tank car filled with a flammable gas used to manufacture

synthetic carpet backing was left at a CSX rail interchange by

another railroad while awaiting transfer to a third line.

Emergency crews decided to let the fire burn out rather than

try to extinguish the blaze. Nearby residents filed a

class-action suit the day after the fire.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the

railroad was not responsible for the tank car fire. …