Hartford pollution class action ends; Total recovery at $39 million

By Steve Korris | May 16, 2011


Eight years of class action litigation over petroleum pollution in Hartford ended on May 2, when Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge approved a $4 million settlement of claims against Apex Oil and Sinclair Oil.

The settlement brought total recovery to $39 million, Mudge wrote.

BP, Shell Oil subsidiary Equilon, and Premcor Refining had previously settled class action claims that they created a lake of petroleum beneath Hartford.

Apex and Sinclair agreed to pay $1,563,000 for property damage and loss of property value, and $1,042,000 for loss of enjoyment and use.

Lawyers who represented village residents and property owners will collect the remainder, about $1.4 million.

The class includes all who resided in Hartford or owned property there since 1984.

"These automatic payments will provide record owners of property with significant individual benefits on top of those already received in the former Premcor, Equilon and BP settlements," Mudge wrote.

"All settlement class members will be compensated based upon proximity of their residence to the underground accumulation of hydrocarbons and other petroleum products and the number of years in their residence," he wrote.

"The settlement benefits allocated to property damage will be calculated based upon individual property value and the location of the property in proximity to the underground accumulation of hydrocarbons and other petroleum products and paid out automatically to all owners of record in the village," he wrote.

About 1,500 persons live in Hartford.

Thirteen Hartford residents who represented the class will receive $7,500 each.

Mark Goldenberg of Edwardsville led the village's legal team, along with Holly Reese of his

Norman Siegel and Teresa Woody of Kansas City also represented village residents.

So did Phillip Graham of Clayton, Missouri, and Christopher Dysart of Chesterfield, Missouri.

James O'Brien, Theodore Lucas, and Richard Ahrens of St. Louis represented Apex, as did William Knapp of Edwardsville.

Joseph Nassif and Michael Montgomery of Clayton represented Sinclair, as did Bernard Ysursa of Belleville.

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