UPDATE 10:00PM (5/2/17)
New details in the Class Action Suit against West Virginia American Water and Eastman Chemical. Tuesday night a lead attorney in the case held and information session to answer questions and lay out the plan for payment.
Dustin White was taking care of his terminally ill father when the water crisis hit. The two had just returned from the doctor when the “Do Not Use” notice went out.
“Luckily a friend of the family rushed in right as we returned home and said don’t use the water we were getting ready to wash him down and luckily we were warned before we bathed him in the water,” White told 13 News.
white says while the class suit has left some feeling of justice, no amount of money can relieve the pain caused by the MCHM spill.
“My father was a retired coal miner and a Vietnam veteran and he spent the last few weeks of his life without access to clean water. We were trying to boil creek water and melt snow just to take care of him,” White added.
Now families like White’s and thousand of others are eligible for hundreds of dollars in the settlement.
Right now, attorneys in the case want folks to start thinking about the type of claim they want to file.
“There’s a simple form and an individual review form which requires documentation for both businesses and residences. In my opinion, the smart money is almost always going to be the simple claim form,” attorney in the suit Kevin Thompson said.
No one can file yet, but some water advocates are already looking towards the next step. Advocates for a Safe Water System is keeping up their fight to move Kanawha Valley water to an entirely public system.
“As long as you have a company whose first priority is it’s shareholders and to returning a profit to those shareholders…it’s not conducive to the priorities of it’s customer,” spokeswoman Karan Ireland added.
The average household can expect to get about $525 plus an additional $170 per person in the family. Businesses will be eligible to a range of about $6,00 to $40,000 per claim.
The important thing to remember is the deal isn’t finalized. So it’s recommended you do not give out any person information or file any sort of forms until you receive a mail notice from attorneys in the case.
Lawyers representing all sides in the Freedom Industries MCHM class action lawsuit have signed a settlement, paving the way for local residents and businesses to share in a settlement fund of up to 151 million dollars from two defendants.
The settlement makes a fund available to around 225,000 individuals and thousands of area businesses to compensate for the loss of drinkable water, water-loss related expenses, lost wages lost profits and injuries.
West Virginia American Water agreed to pay up to 126 million dollar in the settlement, and Eastman Chemical Company agreed to pay up to 25 million dollars.
The following are the payouts for the simple claim forms:
- Residential Households: $525 + $170 per additional resident
- Pregnancy Inconvenience: $1,500
- Shutdown Business Claims: $6,250 to $25,000
- Lodging Business Claims: $12,500 to $40,000
- Other Business: $1,850
Class members eligible for this settlement including residential households that received tap water service from West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant on January 9th, 2014, businesses that operated at a property that received tap water service from WVAW on the same date, and hourly wage earners that were involved with a business that shut down or partially shut down as a result o the spill and can show that they lost hourly wages.