Claims settled in Rosedale train explosion as NTSB prepares to release final report

A year and a half later, money is being paid out in the Rosedale explosion/derailment

CSX Transportation and Alban Waste LLC have reached a confidential settlement in a lawsuit brought by the railroad after an Alban truck collided with a CSX freight train in Rosedale in 2013.

Dozens of other claims related to the incident and brought separately against Alban and its insurance provider, Harford Mutual Insurance Co., have also been settled, according to documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The collision caused the train to derail and then explode, sending a shock wave that was felt for miles, collapsing roofs, knocking down warehouse walls and shattering windows in an industrial park and nearby neighborhood.

The railroad claimed damages of nearly $3.7 million, while other companies and homeowners filed millions of dollars in claims.

John Alban Jr., the owner of the waste company, was fined for violating traffic laws.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is set to conclude Wednesday. Officials have scheduled a news conference in Rosedale to release their findings and recommendations in the case, according to an NTSB spokesman.

The NTSB's decision to release its final report Wednesday — nearly a year and a half after the incident — was "absolutely not" related to the dismissal of the lawsuits Tuesday, spokesman Eric Weiss said.

"We finished our investigation," he said.

In the CSX lawsuit against Alban, an order was signed Tuesday stating that the two parties had settled out of court, but the terms were not disclosed.

Another order was filed Tuesday to dismiss a separate case in which Harford Mutual had asked the court to help settle more than 40 claims totaling more than $10 million that were brought by CSX and others against Alban's $1 million insurance policy with Harford Mutual.

The insurer told the court it should not be held liable beyond the $1 million limit on the policy. CSX had asked the court to dismiss Harford Mutual's complaint.

The order releases $1 million that Harford Mutual had deposited with the court's registry in March as a sign of its willingness to pay damages to the upper limit of Alban's policy, with the provision that the money would be immediately disbursed according to confidential settlements with the various claimants.

The filing did not disclose which claimants would be receiving payments, but says none of the parties objected to the filing and that the settlements "will exhaust the policy limits."

It also states that Harford Mutual is "relieved and discharged from all liability and further responsibility."

The order followed a motion filed jointly by attorneys for Alban, Harford Mutual and CSX.

The attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment on either case Tuesday.

Rob Doolittle, a CSX spokesman, said in a statement that the settlements "serve to underscore the need for drivers to obey all laws and signals related to highway grade crossings, to ensure their safety and the safety of the public around them."

krector@baltsun.com

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