United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
DENORA DIEHL, ROBERT COOK, JENNIFER QUEEN, and LORELEI GORDON, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., Defendant.
GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case arises out of a train derailment that occurred near
Hyndman, Pennsylvania in August of 2017. Plaintiffs filed a
Class Action Complaint alleging that Defendant CSX
Transportation, Inc. negligently operated a train, causing it
to derail. Plaintiffs aver that they and other proposed class
members were subsequently forced to evacuate their homes and
subjected to inconvenience as Defendant repaired the
before the Court are Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 56) and Plaintiffs' Motion for Class
Certification (ECF No. 64). The Motions are fully briefed
(ECF Nos. 58, 60, 63, 65, 67, 69) and ripe for disposition.
For the reasons that follow, the Court
GRANTS Defendant's Motion and
DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion as moot.
Jurisdiction and Venue
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction because at least one
plaintiff is diverse from at least one defendant and the
amount in controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000. 28 U.S.C. §
is proper in the Western District of Pennsylvania because
Defendant removed this action from Bedford County, which is
embraced by this district. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise
The Derailment and Evacuation
morning of August 2, 2017, a freight train operated by
Defendant derailed in Hyndman, Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 65 at
2.) This train was carrying mixed freight, including propane,
molten sulfur, asphalt, and phosphoric acid residue.
(Id.) The derailment resulted in a fire that burned
for two days and led to a mandatory evacuation of
approximately 1, 000 people from nearby homes for varying
lengths of time. (Id.) Emergency management
officials set up a mandatory evacuation zone within a
one-mile radius of the derailment and emergency responders
went door to door to ensure the evacuation of all residents.
(Id. at 4.)
Jennifer Queen evacuated her home with only her cell phone.
(Id.) Her fiancé, Plaintiff Robert Cook, was
working at a local hospital at the time of the derailment.
(Id.) Mr. Cook and Ms. Queen evacuated their house
from August 2 to 5, 2017. (Id. at 5.) They had two
dogs and a cat that were left crated during the evacuation
and Mr. Cook and Ms. Queen had to clean and sanitize the
crates upon returning home. (Id.) Mr. Cook and Ms.
Queen additionally had food items that expired and had to be
thrown away and left clothes in the washer from before the
evacuation that developed mold and a foul odor.
(Id.) Mr. Cook and Ms. Queen were not physically
injured by the derailment but allegedly suffer from anxiety
as a result. (ECF No. 57 ¶ 6; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 5.)
Lorelei Gordon and members of her household evacuated their
home without time to pack anything. (ECF No. 65 at 5-6.) They
evacuated their house from August 2 to 5, 2017. (Id.
at 6.) Ms. Gordon kept rabbits outside her house and three of
them had died by the time she returned home. (Id.)
She also had a dog that was left in her house unattended and
she had to clean and sanitize her house upon her return.
(Id.) Ms. Gordon additionally had food items that
expired and had to be thrown away and left clothes in the
washer from before the evacuation that developed mold.
(Id.) Ms. Gordon was not physically injured by the
derailment but allegedly suffers from anxiety as a result.
(ECF No. 57 ¶ 6; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 5.)
Denora Diehl and three other people living in her house
evacuated her home shortly after the derailment without
belongings. (ECF No. 65 at 7.) They evacuated the house from
August 2 to 20, 2017. (Id.) Ms. Diehl left two dogs
in her house unattended for approximately 48 hours and then
had to board one of them for approximately two weeks.
(Id.) When Ms. Diehl returned home, the food in her
refrigerator had expired and had to be thrown away.
(Id.) Ms. Diehl was not ...