Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Massive Norfolk Southern Hazardous Material Derailment in New York Forces Many From Homes

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Ripley, New York – March 1, 2016)

Dozens of residents of homes were evacuated into the cold, snowy western New York night Tuesday at about 9:30 P.M., EST when 16 cars of an eastbound Norfolk Southern freight train, three of which contained highly flammable, hazardous materials derailed.  Railroad officials scrambled to explain the circumstances surrounding the Ripley, NY situation which was far from resolved by late Wednesday. 

Complicating the derailment, which not only shut down a Norfolk Southern double-tracked main line that carries a daily average of 18 trains but also a parallel CSX rail line where its two main tracks transport 52 trains, including numerous Amtrak passenger trains, was the fact that two of the cars, which overturned, were tankers carrying the gasoline additive ethanol. Another tank car, which was carrying highly explosive propane, remained upright, but off the rails. The two ethanol cars were believed to be leaking, and at least 30 residents were still being sheltered in an elementary school Wednesday. In all, 50 homes were included in the initial evacuation order.

Ripley is on Lake Erie about 70 miles southeast of Buffalo, NY, and Amtrak was being forced to ferry passengers of several key intercity trains by bus Paround the site of the as-yet unexplained causal crash.


Railroad News


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James Perrin Lubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluen Harriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. Miller Mandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike Easley Arkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger Brown Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8