BENTON – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois recently issued a preliminary order of approval for the settlement of a class action lawsuit between residents of Roxana and Shell Oil Co.
This is indicative that the parties have agreed to, at the very least, the basic terms of a settlement.
The order, issued Aug. 2 in response to the plaintiff’s unopposed motion for preliminary approval of class settlement, also outlines the terms of the suit, such as who may be included in the class and class representation.
Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel appointed plaintiff Jeana Parko as class representative and appointed Chicago law firm Simmons Hanly Conroy as counsel for the class. Rust Consulting’s Tiffaney Janowicz was appointed as neutral arbitrator.
Additionally, the class size was limited to all those people who reside within the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency area of study, which is described as an area bordered by South Central Avenue, Rand Avenue and South Chaffer Avenue.
Furthermore, Rosenstengel designated “all persons who own or owned or occupy or occupied real property in the village of Roxana, Illinois, within the settlement area, during the settlement time period, regardless of whether or not they file a claim form in accordance with the procedures set forth in the agreements,” as accepted in the class.
The final approval hearing is set to be held before Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m., at which time the court will determine if the specific terms of the settlement are indeed fair.
The lawsuit was filed by Roxana residents who claim leaked chemicals from a local Shell refinery have entered their drinking water and caused them health problems, including cancer.
Claims of negligence, trespass, public nuisance, private nuisance and unjust enrichment were filed. In addition to Shell, the companies Equilon Enterprises, ConocoPhillips, WRB Refining, ConocoPhilips WRB Partners and Cenovus GPCO were also mentioned in the suit.
Compensatory damages in the amount of $250,000 were initially sought, in addition to other costs and relief. A medical monitoring program was also desired in order to track the plaintiff’s health.