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Following Ohio spill, Bucks County sues Norfolk Southern


The Bucks County Employees Retirement System is suing Norfolk Southern Railway for securities fraud, alleging the company misrepresented itself to investors, including Bucks’ retirement board, the county recently announced.

The retirement fund pays millions in benefits each year to more than 1,600 retired county employees. Bucks’ retirement system, officials said, lost about $78,000 due to the actions of the railroad.

The federal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the same district where a Norfolk Southern train derailment caused a “disastrous chemical spill” in East Palestine, according to Bucks County officials.

Bucks County Commissioner Chairman Bob Harvie, who also chairs the retirement board, said, in a statement, “It is of paramount importance to the Bucks County Retirement Board that we safeguard the fund that supports the retirees who dutifully served the County of Bucks during their working years.

“Corporations that harm the fund — and by extension our retired employees — through fraud or deceit should be held accountable for those actions.”

The suit claims Norfolk Southern made false and misleading statements that concealed safety risks and misrepresented the value of the company, which artificially inflated the company’s stock price.

It was only after the Feb. 3 train derailment that the company’s “unsound safety practices” became known to the public and Norfolk Southern investors, said Bucks County officials. The company’s stock price subsequently fell, causing harm to investors such as the county’s retirement fund.

Joe Khan, the county’s solicitor, said, “Our lawsuit demands that Norfolk Southern answer for this loss.”

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