A federal magistrate judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement that will require the owners of the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill to pay residents living near the site nearly $7 million. The class action lawsuit that prompted the settlement alleged lost property value and public nuisance caused by the overwhelming and noxious odors released from an underground fire in the depths of the landfill. Notification will go out immediately to residents of three neighborhoods closest to the landfill who will have a choice to accept or reject their portion of the settlement.
The lawsuit was filed March 2013 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri by attorney Ted Gianaris, of Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, on behalf of more than 400 residences impacted by the putrid smells in the neighborhoods of Spanish Village Subdivision; Terrisan Reste Mobile Home Park; Carrollton Village Apartment Homes and Condominiums; and homes on Foerster, Taussig and Boenker roads in Bridgeton, Mo.
“Republic Services put these families in a terrible situation. By uniting together through a class action lawsuit, we were able to quickly reach a resolution that will give residents some resources to decide how to move forward,” Gianaris said.
The settlement will go to individuals who were legal residents living in the areas immediately surrounding the landfill between November 2010 and December 2013. In order to receive a portion of the settlement, class members are required to complete and return a claim form. Gianaris said payments could be made as early as this fall.
“Through aggressive litigation we were able to put together a solid case,” Gianaris said. “This settlement provides the landfill’s neighbors a fair amount of money within a reasonable time frame.”
Residents have compared the smell to rotten eggs or something dead. “The smells have negatively impacted these people’s quality of life,” Gianaris said.
The Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill is located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and 270 on St. Charles Rock Road in Missouri. The landfill covers 52 acres and extends below the surface approximately 240 feet. The total waste thickness is 320 feet and is located in two areas known as the North and South Quarries. The Bridgeton landfill accepted waste from 1985 until Dec. 31, 2004.
The case name and number is Buck et. al. v. Republic Services, Inc., et al. No. 4:13CV00801 TCM (E.D. Mo. Apr. 17, 2014).