$4 million settlement closer to payout following 2015 diesel spill

An order entered by the Circuit Court of Greenbrier County last week gave preliminary approval to a settlement regarding the lawsuit The Bakery, LLC, et al vs. Kenneth Pritt, et al. The class action lawsuit was filed in response to the diesel spill into Anthony Creek that occurred in January of 2015.

The incident occurred on Route 92, near Neola, when defendant Kenneth Pritt, a driver for Woodford Transportation and Woodford Oil Company, drove a tanker truck containing diesel into a tributary that feeds into Anthony Creek, which then leaked into the water.The diesel leak caused the city of Lewisburg to close their water treatment plant on January 24, leaving many residents and businesses without water until the spill was cleaned up and the plant reopened.

The suit reached a settlement agreement in the amount of $4,000,000, with the following terms imposed:

  • $250 for each residential household including one person, and $150 for each additional person in that residential household, which was provided tap water service from the water treatment plant operated by the City of Lewisburg on January 24, and who was without water as a result of the January 23 diesel spill into Anthony Creek.
  • $240 for each person employed on January 24, 2015, at a business that was provided tap water service from the water treatment plant operated by the City of Lewisburg that shut down or partially shut down because it was without water as a result of the January 23 diesel spill into Anthony Creek and who was not paid wages as a result of that shut-down; and
  • Payment of not more than $3,100 to each business that operated a property location provided tap water service from the water treatment plant operated by the City of Lewisburg.

Essentially, this progression in the case means that water customers affected by the spill are closer to receiving a potential payout. Circuit Court Judge Robert Richardson approved the notices that will be sent to water customers in upcoming weeks. The notices state that the settlement offers payments to class members who file valid claims, and offers information about legal rights and options in this settlement, including how to submit a claim form or exclude yourself from the suit. The rights and options, as well as the deadlines to exercise them, will be explained in the notice.

After all class members have had the opportunity to file claims or object to the settlement, the circuit court will consider whether to give final approval to the settlement. A hearing on final approval of the settlement has been scheduled for September 18, 2018, and if approval is granted, settlement checks can be distributed after that date.