Class Action Dilemmas: Pursuing Public Goals for Private Gain

By Deborah R. Hensler; Nicholas M. Pace et al. | Go to book overview

frustration; some claimants complained when they discovered that only onehalf of the fund was available for compensation.

Key Events Date
Toxic chemicals detected in the Gert Town sewer
system
October 1987
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
orders Harcros to dispose of chemical waste in sewers
March 3, 1988
Remediation of Harcros site begins May 1989
Complaint filed September 28, 1989
Defendants seek removal to federal court December 26, 1989
Judge Mentz denies motion to remand case to state
court
April 2, 1990
Judge Mentz remands case to Louisiana state court January 11, 1991
Preliminary class certification March 24,1993
Defendants' petition to Louisiana Supreme Court for
review of jurisdiction denied
November 11, 1994
Deadline for submission of claim forms May 1995
Settlement reached April 22, 1996
Preliminary approval of settlement May 31, 1996
Cutoff for objections September 9, 1996
Nine-day fairness hearing begins September 9, 1996
Final approval order October 17, 1996

NOTES
1
As part of our research on this litigation, we interviewed attorneys on both sides of the case as well as the Court Appointed Expert. We also reviewed court documents, newspaper accounts, litigation reporters, and records from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
2
Atkins v. Harcros Chemicals, Inc., No. 89-23976 (La. Dist. Ct. Orleans Parish 1996).
3
In the Matter of Thompson-Hayward Chemical Co., VVT-88-032 (La. Dep't of Environmental Quality decided Jan. 23, 1995) (hereinafter Slip Opinion).
4
The characterizations of Gert Town provided here and throughout the chapter are taken from descriptions given in our interviews.
5
Atkins v. Harcros Chemicals, Inc., 638 So. 2d 302, 303 (La. Ct. App. 1994), cert. denied, 644 So. 2d 396 (La. 1994).
6
Proposed Zone/ Phase Point System, Appendix C to Report of Court Appointed Expert on Issues of Allocation ( Sept. 17, 1996).

-334-

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