Roxana Village and Residents Receive $6 Million in Settlement Checks after Underground Benzene Spill

New Benzene Cancer Claims Can Still be Filed

ALTON, Ill. – Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest mass tort litigation firms, is pleased to announce the delivery of nearly $6 million in settlement checks to the Village of Roxana and a class of over 300 Roxana homeowners and residents harmed by the Wood River Refinery’s underground benzene spill. A second round of claims for anyone who worked at or lived near the refinery and was diagnosed with a benzene-caused blood cancer may still be filed.

The settlement totaled $6.18 million for the Roxana residents’ class action and a case brought by the Villages’s governing body. The lawsuits were filed by Chairman John Simmons, a native of Roxana.

“While a lawsuit cannot undo what has been done, I hope the people of Roxana find some relief in this result for what they have endured,” Simmons said. “These are my friends and neighbors. They’re not litigious people. They just want what’s fair and to hold the owners and operators of the refinery accountable for the mess it made.”

Simmons included a personal letter with the homeowners’ and residents’ settlement checks, which were delivered in time for Christmas.

“It was my pleasure to have represented the people of Roxana,” Simmons said in the letter. “Your trust means a lot to us and we were honored to have fought for your rights.”

Simmons grew up in East Alton and attended Roxana High School before marrying his high-school sweetheart and joining the Army. He was living in Roxana when he first started the firm. Now headquartered in Alton, Illinois, the firm has more than 250 employees in five offices across the country and helps thousands of people nationwide stand up for their rights against large corporations.

The Wood River Refinery experienced dozens of spills in 25 years that released dangerous chemicals, including benzene, hexane and other toxic compounds, according to the complaint. The fugitive emissions were attributed to broken pipelines and the refinery itself. Much of the contamination is underground and affects property extending several blocks into the Village’s residential area, affecting nearly a quarter of residents.

When Simmons Hanly Conroy’s environmental litigation team negotiated the settlement for the Village and property owners, the team made sure to preserve the rights of anyone who was diagnosed with a benzene-caused blood cancer.

If anyone has been diagnosed with leukemia or any other blood cancers while living near or working at the Wood River Refinery, they are encouraged to contact the firm for a free consultation about their legal rights at 618-693-3104.