More than 80,000 claims filed in water settlement for Freedom spill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Claims filed in connection with the 2014 water crisis settlement will continue to come in over the next few days following last week’s deadline.

Charleston attorney Anthony Majestro told MetroNews they received more than 80,000 claims for the $151 million settlement between West Virginia American Water Company and Eastman Chemical following the 2014 Freedom Industries chemical spill on the Elk River.

The total class size is around 120,000 representing the homes and businesses that lost usable tap water in the spill’s aftermath.

The deadline to file claims was last Wednesday. Claims had to be posted-marked by that day.

“Some more will continue to trickle in. We expect to get a few more hundred in over the next few days,” Majestro said.

In just the last few hours before the filing period ended, more than 1,000 claims came in.

“The response to it, we believe, shows that the settlement was something that people thought was worth while,” Majestro said.

Class action settlements typically have a 20 percent participation rate, Majestro said. This settlement had about a 50-60 percent rate.

People can expect to see reimbursement checks in the mail within the next 2-3 months.

The claims administrator will be going through and verifying each claim. Majestro said they’re still waiting on the court to enter the final order. That will allows them the authorization to release the money from the settlement.

“Hopefully in the next several months the settlement administrator can start writing checks,” he said.

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