A class-action lawsuit against Newby Island Landfill regarding property damages has been tentatively settled pending approval by the Court. The settlement would include approximately 6,800 households within a 1.5 mile radius from the landfill (see map below). As part of the settlement, Newby’s composting facility would either be closed or altered by the end of 2017. $2.75 million would be allocated by Newby to mitigate odors over the next 5 years including enhancing or upgrading its gas collections system. Also $1.2 million in damages would be distributed with $650,000 to lawyers, $10,000 to named plaintiffs and remaining $540,000 to be prorated among households who file a claim by Feb 9,2016.
The settlement terms are inadequate. The Citizens Odor Action Group of Milpitas were not involved in negotiating the terms of the settlement. The negotiated terms strongly relies on Newby’s operators to make the final decision of any actions would be taken to mitigate the odor generated from the Newby facility with no assurance of odor relief or effectiveness. The 2-5 years time frame allotted for adopting improvement measures does not provide immediate relief either.
Republic’s Newby, the Defendants, continues to claim that they are not producing odor from their facility and as part of the settlement stated:
Defendants expressly deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Action, in the Complaint, or in other papers filed in the Action, and do not admit or concede any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing, or liability in connection with any facts or claims, which have been or could have been alleged against it in the Action.
Please review your options carefully and submit your decision by February 9, 2016.
Doing nothing is the worst possible decision one can make. If you live within the 1.5 mile radius from the landfill, you will be automatically included in the settlement. However, you won’t get any money unless you file a claim form.
Recommended actions include:
- EXCLUDE YOURSELF: If you decide to exclude yourself from the settlement, you must take action by Feb 9th, 2016. You can use the template provided below: http://tinyurl.com/NewbySettlementOpt-out. If you exclude yourself, you cannot write in to comment on the settlement terms.
We recommend that Residents with confirmed BAAQMD complaints should exclude yourself from the class settlement to retain full legal rights to sue and/or provide testimonies. This would preserve evidence of the 6 Regulatory Public Nuisance Violations and 90% BAAQMD confirmed complaints traced to Republic Services which can be used in future litigations.
- SUBMIT CLAIM AND COMMENT: If you are planning to be part of this settlement, submit a claim form, and write to demand stronger settlement terms like more odor improvement measures, higher payout, more accountability and no expansion until Newby’s odor is mitigated. Also plan to attend the Final Fairness Hearing on Apr 29th. The distribution of the settlement funds may be as low as $80 per household (assuming all households file a claim). It is documented in this lawsuit that homes within the 1.5 miles of the landfill is devalued by 5% which is $31,000 for a $640k house in Milpitas. Write in to tell the judge to deny the settlement so the lawyers could work harder to get a better deal for the residents. The deadline for Comment is Feb 9th, 2016.
A Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement has also been provided by the Court, please read this!
You can read more about the settlement at the website below: http://ldclassaction.com/NewbyIslandLandFillSettlement
Here is a map of the included 1.5 miles radius: