Source: http://www.fredericknewspost.com, June 4, 2014
By: Danielle E. Gaines
A multibillion-dollar lawsuit scheduled to go to trial this fall in Frederick County has been settled, according to attorneys.
The suit was filed in 2010 on behalf of Monrovia families who said they were harmed by exposure to gasoline and related products leaked into groundwater from the former Green Valley Citgo station at 11791 Fingerboard Road. The Green Valley Citgo station is now a BP gas station.
Documents related to the settlement agreement were not available as part of court records, and attorneys involved in the case said the settlement terms are confidential.
Contamination from petroleum products, including methyl tertiary-butyl ether, was found in groundwater in 2005. Hexavalent chromium and lead were also found in water supplies in the area.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers alleged that exposure to gasoline and related products have been tied to DNA damage in humans and increased the risk of cancer and other ailments.
As many as 75 plaintiffs sought more than $3.75 billion in damages in the lawsuit.
The proposed settlement was reported to Frederick County Circuit Judge William R. Nicklas Jr. in May.
Scott Hartinger, a Frederick attorney for homeowners in the case, said the settlement has since been finalized, but he couldn’t offer any further details because of a confidentiality agreement.
Dwight Stone, who represented defendants Carroll Independent Fuel Co. and Timbercrest Limited Partnership, also declined to comment. Other defendants listed in the case included SAABA Corp., Ellicott City; Citgo Petroleum Corp., Tulsa, Oklahoma; Citgo East Coast Refining Corp., Tulsa; BP Oil Corp., Warrenville, Illinois; BP Products North America, Baltimore; and BP Corp. North America, Chicago.
Court records indicate that a proposed payment to the plaintiffs was received in full by Hartinger’s office last month.
Also last month, the Maryland Department of the Environment completed an investigation into the lead and hexavalent chromium contamination.
The final report found the levels of lead and hexavalent chromium measured in residential drinking water samples were below exposure standards and did not pose a public health risk warranting regulatory action.
The levels of lead and hexavalent chromium measured in those samples were naturally occurring and not related to the MBTE remediation efforts.
The investigation into lead and hexavalent chromium has been closed, but the remediation of MTBE in groundwater continues under MDE supervision, spokesman Jay Apperson said.
Groundwater & Environmental Services Inc., on behalf of the gas station, continues to sample monitoring wells and household drinking water wells and provide carbon filtration systems for the Green Valley Plaza and six homes affected by petroleum products, Apperson said.
A pretrial hearing in the case had been scheduled for Tuesday. The trial was expected to be one of the longest in Frederick County history and last three months, from September to December.