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In August of 2017, a judge granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement between primary plaintiff Jeana Parko and Shell/Conoco Philips in regards to allegations the oil companies released contaminants from the Wood River oil refinery. Parko charged in the class action lawsuit that Shell and Conoco Phillips released contaminants that eventually ended up in Roxana, Illinois groundwater.
Parko alleges there were 18 spills over the course of 25 years that included the release of highly toxic chemicals into the air and water. According to court documents, the contaminants contained poisons such as hexane, benzene, xylene, and toluene. Park insists about 25% of Roxana residents have felt some type of negative health impact from the oil refinery discharges.
Terms of the Roxana class action settlement require the defendants to set up a fund of $4.83 million. The class administrator will distribute part of the fund to Parko as incentive for filing the class action lawsuit. Eligible class members also receive distributions from the settlement fund.
Both Shell and Conoco Phillips continue to deny the class action lawsuit allegations. However, the two oil companies agreed to the class action settlement to avoid the high costs associated with litigating civil trials.
What You Need To Know About The Roxana Groundwater Contamination Class Action Settlement
According to a press release issued by class counsel, the class action settlement “covers persons who either owned or occupied property within the Settlement Class Area between Jan. 1, 1986 and Aug. 30, 2017. The Settlement Class Area covers all privately-owned real property parcels inside a roughly 8½-block area within the Village of Roxana, bounded by S. Chaffer Ave., the railroad tracks, S. Central Ave., and the alley between E. 1st St. and E. Tydeman Ave.” Access the map online by visiting the class action settlement website www.RoxanaClassSettlement.com. Eligible class members must opt out of the class action settlement or dispute any provisions of the agreement by October 16, 2017.
The potential award depends on several factors that include the location of property, the assessed value of a property, the length of time spent living on a property, and whether the homeowner vacated a home before March of 2007. The property also must be residential. In addition to the submission of a valid and timely claim form, eligible class members must submit documentation that proves they either owned or occupied the property in question during the designated class period. Qualifying class members have until October 16, 2017 to submit a valid claim form. The judge presiding over the class action settlement case Jeana Parko, et al. v. Shell Oil Company, et al., Case No. 3:12-cv-00336-NJR-PMF, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has scheduled the final hearing on December 18, 2017.