Hundreds of gasoline spill cases settled, lawyers say

Hundreds of gasoline spill cases settled, lawyers say

Source: Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), March 25, 2011
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A Philadelphia law firm representing hundreds of plaintiffs in a 10-year-old gasoline spill lawsuit resolved all of their outstanding cases, according to the law firm’s public relations firm.

The Locks Law Firm represented more than 200 plaintiffs in the case in which Hazleton-area residents claimed they were sickened or that their properties were damaged by a spill that leaked hundreds of gallons of gasoline into the soil surrounding the Tranguch Tire and Service Center.

“Our clients in the Laurel Gardens section of Hazleton and Hazle Township deserve praise,” the law firm said in a press release issued Thursday. “Their lives were upended by gasoline contamination that affected their homes and their lives. Some died. All suffered nuisance and inconvenience to a significant degree.”

The firm did not disclose the terms of the resolutions, but said it was honored to represent “good people who did nothing wrong.”

“We stand ready to help them or others for all types of litigation,” the firm said.

There are a few plaintiffs still litigating their cases, who were not represented by the Locks Law Firm.

On Monday, attorneys for defendant ExxonMobil and plaintiff Robert J. Stevens were in Luzerne County Court to begin jury selection in the case. After a day of discussions, Stevens’ case was marked settled.

The original suits date back to 2001, when the plaintiffs alleged that fuel leaks at the former Tranguch Tire and Service Station on Church Street entered the ground, causing residents to fall ill with diseases including cancer.

The case, commonly called the Laurel Gardens gas spill, involves the Tranguch business, which closed in 1995 after filing for bankruptcy. The building that still remains on the site is in the process of being torn down.

In September, a Luzerne County jury ruled that four plaintiffs in the case would not receive any money and that Exxon Mobil and Tranguch were partially responsible for the spill.

Plaintiffs in that case were Carol and Dennis Dawley, now of North Carolina, and Clement and Bernadine Marusak, of Hazleton.

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