Family That Owns Land Near Doon Files Suit Against BNSF For Aftermath Of 2018 Derailment

Sioux City, Iowa — A family that owns land in the Doon area has filed suit against a railroad for the damage caused to their property when a train derailed in 2018.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), early on the morning of June 22, 2018, a freight train hauling crude oil from Alberta, Canada derailed 33 cars just south of Doon. The BNSF railroad says it appears ten cars leaked oil for a total of 160-thousand gallons. Some of the crude got into the Little Rock River. The railroad said that over 100,000 gallons were recovered.

According to federal court documents, the Philip, Kristi, John, and Helen Kooima family from Rock Valley owns land in that area. They have sued the Burlington Northern Santa Fe — or BNSF — Railway. The documents allege that BNSF was aware that the tracks over which the train was to be operated were “flooded out, improperly maintained, not properly inspected and were unsafe. Despite such awareness, [BNSF] ordered its employees to operate its train over this section of the track, and as a result thirty-five tank cars carrying hazardous materials derailed, with many of the tanker cars breaching and spewing its hazardous material into the air, water and ground.” It says the oil caused “catastrophic property and environmental damage.”

The suit says the injuries and damages to the Kooimas “came about as a result, in whole or in part, of the negligence of Defendant BNSF, its agents, employees and officers.” It says the property has been suffering “severe, permanent and disabling damages,” which will continue into the future. It says the Kooimas suffered “permanent loss of value of their property.”

The case was originally filed in Lyon County District Court in June, but was removed to federal court on Friday.



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