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The Daily Journal: Q & A with attorney Joseph Yurgine

12/13/2007, 12:31 pm

Kankakee attorney Joseph Yurgine first sued Shell Oil in 2001 –initially as a personal injury case while representing Limestone Township resident Edith Quick. The lawsuit eventually grew into a class action on behalf of 1,500 property owners seeking compensation for the 1988 gasoline spill. Yurgine shared a few brief comments about the case following Tuesday’s historic $46 million settlement with the multinational energy giant.

Did you ever think you would get to this point?

“When we started out my goal was to get peace of mind and trust in your water. I don’t think that was ever negotiable in my mind.”

How did you come up with the $26 million figure to compensate residents?

“As a lawyer, you put out a lot of figures as to what the case is worth. We looked at a lot of things like the cost of pumping well water versus paying Aqua Illinois and linking a house to a water main.”

What do you have to say to the community leaders who accused you of trying to create a panic when this all started?

“I think they tried to put a lid on what happened. You should be asking the people out there (in Limestone Township) what they think.”

The $46 million settlement is the largest class action settlement in Kankakee County history. What do you have to say to that?

“People might say money can’t buy happiness. It is justice.”

Are you like the lawyer John Travolta portrayed in the movie “A Civil Action?”

“The lawyer in that case went bankrupt.” and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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