Ohio Residents Affected by Train Derailment may Apply for Property Valuation Deduction as Class-Action Lawsuit Progresses

Ohio homeowners and businessowners whose property was damaged in Norfolk Southern train derailment can apply for valuation deduction

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – Attorneys at Youngstown, Ohio family law firm Johnson and Johnson and co-counsel firm Hagens Berman, who are pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the train derailment in East Palestine, encourage residents to take note of opportunities to submit a tax objection regarding property damage caused by the rail company’s alleged negligence.

For those eligible, deadlines to submit the documents for a deduction or complaint against property valuation are Dec. 31, 2023, and March 31, 2024.

If you live in or near East Palestine and have been affected by the derailment and subsequent environmental disaster, find out your rights.

What can I do if my property was affected?

Property owners are eligible to have up to 100% of the total value of damages deducted from the valuation of their property, as the derailment occurred during the first three months of the year. A valuation complaint requests reassessment of the total property value and associated taxes. The application for value deduction petitions the auditor to deduct a percentage of the reduction in property value caused by damage from tax bills that are due the following year.

Residents must file two forms with their county auditor to be considered for a property tax deduction, and both forms are necessary in order to qualify for a deduction:

Who can apply?

In addition to homeowners and businessowners, tenants of property owners may also be eligible to file if the property is classified for tax purposes as commercial or industrial, the lease requires the tenant to pay the entire amount of taxes charged against the property and the terms of the lease and/or the property owner allows the tenant to file.

For owners of multiple properties, a single complaint can be submitted if the properties are in the same tax district and have identical ownership, otherwise, multiple complaints must be submitted.

If the property was purchased in the last three years, owners will have to include a purchase agreement, escrow statement, closing statement or other available evidence of ownership with their complaint. Visit your county auditor website or contact the county auditor’s office for more information.

I want to apply for a deduction. Whom do I contact?

Anyone in the following counties may be eligible for a deduction: Carroll, Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning, Portage and Trumbull. Submit the Application for Valuation Deduction for Destroyed or Damaged Real Property by Dec. 31, 2023 and the Complaint Against the Valuation of Real Property by March 31, 2024. For questions, reach out to your county auditor’s office at the information below: 

  • Carroll

         County auditor’s website
         Contact: 330-627-7555

  • Columbiana

         County auditor’s website
         Contact: auditor@columbianacntyauditor.org

  • Jefferson

         County auditor’s website
         Contact: 740-283-8511

  • Mahoning

         County auditor’s website
         Contact: 330-740-2010

  • Portage

         County auditor’s website
         Contact: mkelly@portageco.com

  • Trumbull

         County auditor’s website
         Contact: auditor@co.trumbull.oh.us

What’s next for Ohio residents?

After a valuation complaint is filed, the board of revision, comprised of members from the offices of the county auditor, county treasurer and board of county commissioners, will schedule a hearing to decide whether to decrease the property’s total value.

“Homeowners and businessowners in East Palestine are facing devastating losses because of this disaster, including loss of property value,” said Nils Johnson, Jr. of Johnson and Johnson law firm, attorney representing residents. “We want to encourage those affected to seek out every bit of help and financial assistance they can in the wake of this catastrophe.” 

Find out more about the lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

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About Johnson and Johnson
Johnson and Johnson is a multigenerational family law firm founded in Youngstown, OH in 1921. The firm serves clients in Mahoning County, Columbiana County, and across the state. Ohio residents and businesses have trusted Johnson and Johnson’s legal advice for over a century. The firm provides a broad range of legal services, including oil and gas law, environmental law, real estate law, family law, and business and civil litigation. 

About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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