Metro-East News

$4.25 million Granite City coke plant settlement approved

Air pollution lawsuit yields cash for steel company coke plant neighbors

Granite City Steel's old coke plant was the source of air pollution that harmed neighbors in southern Illinois, a lawsuit stated. Three companies settled for $4.25 million and the funds are being distributed.
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Granite City Steel's old coke plant was the source of air pollution that harmed neighbors in southern Illinois, a lawsuit stated. Three companies settled for $4.25 million and the funds are being distributed.

Residents involved in a $4.25 million class action lawsuit settlement against two energy and coke-making plants will officially get their chunk of the settlement after a judge approved it Friday.

The lawsuit was filed by Granite City residents who said their property was damaged by alleged particulate matter and odorous gases from SunCoke Energy Inc. and Gateway Energy and Coke Company. The two companies denied the allegations against them but agreed to settle due to the uncertainty and risk of delaying litigation.

If residents didn't file to be a part of the lawsuit by November 2017, it's too late to become a part of it. For those who opted in, SunCoke is paying an average of $350-$1,250 per household, but total awards can range anywhere from $33-$2,500, according to the lawsuit.

Almost 7,000 homes were able to claim damages in the lawsuit, as long as homeowners lived there any time between November 2009 and August 2017.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge ordered an additional $100,000 be given to pay administrative costs and services, as well as $286,809 in reimbursements for the cost of environmental experts and scientific testing, according to the approval order.

settlement map
A class-action lawsuit yielded $1.4 million for the lawyers and between $33 and $2,500 for homeowners, depending on how close they lived to Granite City Steel’s coke plant. Madison County Circuit Court

The attorneys will get one-third of the settlement, or $1.4 million.

Anyone involved with the lawsuit, or those who chose to neither opt in or out, no longer has the right to sue for damages outlined in this lawsuit. Those who chose to opt out still have the right to separately pursue legally action.

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