Class action suit filed against CSX in response to bridge collapse

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- Residents of Berkeley County affected by a bridge collapse due to a train derailment have filed for a class action lawsuit against the rail company seeking damages for the hardships that come from using the 22-mile detour.

For the last three weeks, folks who live around the Cypress Garden bridge in Moncks Corner have dealt with the detour.

Department of Transportation officials say a CSX train derailment forced the bridge to collapse.

"We're talking about gas money but also time," said Christopher Biering, an attorney representing 60 people in a potential class action suit. "You're talking about people who have to get up normally at 4 or 5 a.m. having added to their weeks, five to ten hours of commuting per week. So, you are taking five to ten hours away from families."

On Friday, Biering filed a lawsuit against CSX Transportation.

"The claim that we have brought is based in negligence. That's the first cause of action," said Biering.

According to the lawsuit, CSX failed to operate and maintain the rail line and train through the area, which led to the derailment and destruction of the bridge. Department of Transportation officials said it could take months to design, contract, and build a new Cypress Gardens Road bridge.

"The second cause of action is based on a statute, 57-7-240, that provides for a statutorily prescribed penalty, not to exceed a certain amount but not less than a certain amount per day, per person," he added.

The lawsuit states the "defendant is liable to pay the plaintiffs and each person similarly situated, on a daily basis, a sum not exceeding $20, but not less than $5 per day for each person who continues to be prevented from travel across the bridge because of the obstructed of the roadway."

Biering says a judge will now decide whether or not to certify the case as a class action.

"We believe and we pled in our complaint that the potential class is likely in the 3,000 (person) range," said Biering.

Biering says CSX has 30 days to respond to the complaint.

Officials at CSX only said the company does to comment on pending litigation.

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