Settlement Reached in 2017 Western Sugar Class Action Lawsuit

Published online: May 14, 2020 News Jack Harvel
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Source: The Fort Morgan Times

The Western Sugar Cooperative has agreed to a $950,000 settlement on a class action lawsuit over odors emitted by its Fort Morgan, Colo., sugarbeet processing facility.

The settlement will be split among residents who lived within a one-and-a-half mile radius of the sugar plant in Fort Morgan.

A notice has been sent to all affected residents who have the option to make a claim for compensation, to exclude themselves, to object to the settlement or to do nothing.

Those who make a claim for compensation will be part of the settlement fund that will be dispersed among claimants. Those who object will still be bound by the agreement, if the settlement is approved over their objection, but can write to the attorneys to disagree with particular parts of the agreement. Doing nothing waives the right for any future litigation and excludes the resident from being compensated from the settlement fund.

Exclusions and objections must be returned before June 12, 2020, and claims for compensation no later than June 27. There will be a Settlement Fairness Hearing on June 24 at 9 a.m. in the District Court House on 400 Warner Street in Fort Morgan in which the court will determine if the settlement is fair.

Of the $950,000 in the settlement agreement, the attorney’s expenses are not to exceed $340,000 and the named plaintiff will get no more than $2,500. The remainder will then be distributed evenly among settlement class members whose claim is approved by the class counsel.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 4, 2017 citing “alleged emission of noxious odors from the Defendant’s sugar manufacturing facility.” The settlement was done out of court with all allegations of wrongdoing voided among claimants.

“All sides agreed to settle the claim asserted in the lawsuit to avoid the cost and risk of litigation,” the notice read. “The Defendant denies all legal claims in this case. The Named Plaintiff and her attorneys, the Class Counsel, believe that the proposed settlement is in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.”

Attorneys at the Denver-based Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. and Detroit law firm Liddle & Dubin, P.C., which represented the claimants, could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts.