By John Ostapkovich
PAULSBORO, N.J. (CBS) — Another lawsuit has been filed in the wake of the derailment and toxic spill last year in Paulsboro, NJ (see related stories).
While this suit for damages (due to illness and for continued medical monitoring) includes some civilians, it also represents the grievances of some of the first responders who went toward the danger, not away from it.
Lawyer Mark Cuker says the suit faults Conrail and its corporate owners on two fronts: that the bridge where the mishap occurred was, in his words, “an accident waiting to happen;” and that first-responders were endangered because needed information and equipment were not provided.
“We can put people in harm’s way, but we should still protect them to the extent we can,” Cuker said today, “and (it’s) very well known that there’s certain things you can do to protect these people. You can give them a fresh air supply if need be to protect them. You don’t just send them out there like canaries in the coal mine.”
A Conrail spokesman says the firm will respond through legal channels.