In a huge victory for the people of Charleston, West Virginia, defendants responsible for toxic tap water caused by a chemical spill settled all claims against them for $151 million on the day before trial. Smith Stag represented a class of more than 224,000 individuals, 7,300 businesses and governmental bodies damaged by the 2014 spill, which shut down the regional economy of 9 counties for more than a week.
The class action Crystal Good, et al. v. American Water Works Company, Inc., et al. was filed days after the spill of coal processing chemicals from a storage facility 1.5 miles upstream from the region’s sole drinking water intake on the Elk River, an area known as the ‘Chemical Valley.’ Smith Stag’s litigation team worked tirelessly over the next two years to prove that the private water company West Virginia American Water did not adequately prepare for risk of a spill and failed its customers in its flat-footed response, and that the chemical manufacturer Eastman neglected to disclose the corrosivity of their product and fudged its toxicology.