The lawsuit sought medical monitoring for at least 5,000 -- and perhaps as many as 80,000 -- current and former Nitro residents.
"Class Counsel has handled numerous cases of this type over many decades and fully appreciates the strengths and weaknesses of Plaintiffs' case, the challenges he faces in prevailing during a lengthy trial, and the very real risk that the class members he has aggressively represented and whose cause he has championed for many years may end up with nothing," Stuart Calwell, the lead plaintiff's attorney, wrote in a brief urging Circuit Judge Derek Swope to approve the deal.
Thomas Urban, an Arlington, Va., attorney who represents a group of class members who object to the settlement, has raised numerous questions about the fairness of the settlement.
Urban says he doesn't think the medical monitoring and cleanup provisions are adequate, because it covers residents within a smaller area than was included in the original class-action area.
The property cleanup portion of the settlement was unforeseen after Judges O.C. Spaulding and Swope issued rulings last year that threw out that part of the case. Even though the decertification of the property class had been appealed, a Supreme Court decision probably wouldn't have happened anytime soon.
Swope has written in court documents that the challenge to the settlement puts attorneys for the class and Monsanto in the awkward position of advocating the settlement terms when, by their nature, they are different from the positions taken in the litigation.
Other issues to be decided at the hearing include the logistics of how class members will be notified, how medical monitoring and clean up will be accomplished and the cost associated with those efforts.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.