02/29/2008, 10:46 am
The final settlement hearing for the class action lawsuit over Shell Oil’s 1988 gasoline spill in Limestone Township was held Thursday in Kankakee County Circuit Court, but details of the settlement order have yet to be worked out.
The settlement will total at least $26 million and involves 1,384 claims for property damages and costs associated with the spill, said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Joseph Yurgine of Kankakee.
Separate suits involving health issues relating to the contaminants have been filed, he said.
Circuit Judge Gordon Lustfeldt of Watseka has indicated his preliminary approval of the settlement order, but lawyers for both sides have to work out details, Yurgine said. “We hope to work that out in 14 days,” he said.
Once Lustfeldt signs the order, “the clock starts ticking for 30 days for appeals,” Yurgine said.
If none are filed, the $26 million “will be deposited in a local national bank” and the court-appointed administrator, retired Will County Circuit Judge Thomas Ewert, will begin examining claims, Yurgine said.
For that process to begin, claimants from the core settlement area need to send Yurgine copies of their most recent real estate tax assessments to establish the value of their homes, plus receipts of any expenditures related to the issue, such as investment in a new well, he said.
~ Robert Themer