Freedom lawsuit deadline nears

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Time is running out for those who want to file a claim against Freedom Industries in connection to the Jan. 9 chemical leak into the Elk River. Friday is the deadline.

Jim Lane, a Charleston attorney named as the representative of federal bankruptcy court, said he has seen a large jump in the number of people who want to get involved in this lawsuit from just one week ago.

“There’s been a definite uptick in the claims. Right now we have 986 claims,” explained Lane. “I don’t know what the total dollar amount is but it’s about 20 million.”

Those impacted by the water crisis are filing claims for expenses such as bottled water, lost wages and medical bills. There’s another word that keeps popping up as well “nuisance.” Lane is not sure how much that will be worth with the court.

“I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the court eventually puts a value on those claims,” said Lane.

For those who had planned to send their claims through the mail it may be too late. The written claims must be received at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston no later than end of business on Friday. You can hand deliver you claim to the court by Friday afternoon on the third floor of the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse.

Then there’s the high tech route. Claimants can log on to to file electronically. The website has instructions on how to file the claim and the forms. Those must be completed before midnight Saturday.

Lane isn’t sure how long it will take for the suit to wrap up.

More than 300,000 people in parts of nine counties were impacted by the chemical spill.

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