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ARTICLE ID 160676

: $________. Breakdown: $________ from Defendant EQ Industrial Services, Inc.; and $________ combined from Defendant ST Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Inc. and Defendant Allworth PLLC. The included $________ in attorney fees and $________ in costs and expenses. See Editor's Note. - Toxic Tort Toxic Tort - Chemical Explosion - -

Wake County

Facts: A class action which arose following a fire and explosions in ____ at a hazardous waste facility settled for $________. Two of the key issues in the case were whether a cause of action existed for recovery of indirect economic damages in a tort action and whether the class was entitled to certification. The court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor regarding defendants’ motion to dismiss finding the plaintiffs’ had a cause of action. Subsequently and prior to the court’s ruling on the class certification issue, the case settled.

Plaintiffs were residents and business owners in the ____ of ____ who pursued this class action following a chemical fire and explosions which occurred on October 5, ________. The incident happened at Defendant __ __________ ________, Inc.’s hazardous waste facility located in ____. The fire, which lasted for two days, resulted in explosions and a chemical cloud. The incident resulted in approximately ________ town residents evacuating their homes during the night of the fire and explosions. Some of the residents were told by local authorities to evacuate and others left of their own accord. The residents were instructed to stay away from their homes for many days and some businesses in the area were inaccessible due to the evacuation. None of the residents sustained personal injuries or property damage due to the incident. Plaintiffs pursued this class action against Defendant __ __________ ________, Inc., Defendant __ ______ _________ ___________, which was an aviation maintenance company, and Defendant ________ ____, which was a hazardous waste collection and transportation company. Plaintiffs alleged that the actions of defendants caused the incident which forced them to evacuate their homes and businesses resulting in damages related to the evacuation.

Plaintiffs alleged claims of negligence, nuisance, strict liability and trespass against the defendants. Plaintiffs argued defendants did not appropriately handle, transport and dispose of chemical oxygen generators that caused the fire, explosions and chemical cloud. Plaintiffs asserted there were three classes of plaintiffs including residents who were told to evacuate by authorities, residents who were outside the mandatory evacuation zone, but still under where the chemical cloud traveled and businesses in the mandatory evacuation zone or nearby that were not able to be reached because of safety personnel being in the area after the incident. Plaintiffs asserted that they suffered reasonably foreseeable expenses, lost profits and mental anguish due to having to evacuate their homes and businesses because of the incident.

Defendants disputed that plaintiffs were eligible for class certification because the class representatives’ claims were not typical across the whole class. Defendants also maintained plaintiffs’ claimed damages were speculative. Further defendants asserted that _____ ________ law did not provide for the recovery of economic damages in a tort action when the plaintiffs had not sustained any physical injury or property damage. Defendants disputed that plaintiffs should be entitled to recovery for the indirect economic damages which plaintiffs sought regarding the incident.

Alleged Injury: Economic losses and mental anguish resulting from having to evacuate homes and businesses following a chemical fire, explosions and a chemical cloud. Plaintiffs did not sustain personal injuries or property damage, but sought recovery for loss of use and enjoyment of homes and businesses, evacuation expenses, lost profits, lost wages and the mental anguish related to having to evacuate.

Jury Deliberations: SETTLEMENT EFFORTS:

Editor’s Notes: Residents were entitled to $________ per household and businesses were entitled up to $________ pursuant to the settlement. Defendant __ __________ ________, Inc. had made prior payments to some residents of $________ per household which left these residents entitled to the difference in amounts. The settlement also included $________ to be paid to the ____ of ____ for future emergency response equipment and training.

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