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Mejdrech v. Lockformer Co., No. 02-8018, 2002 WL 1838141 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 12, 2002) aff’d sub nom. Mejdrech v. Met-Coil Systems Corp., 319 F. 3d 910 (7th Cir. 2003)

This case resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for hundreds of homeowners victimized by industrial pollution.  The plaintiffs in this case were a group of residents who lived near a metal fabrication and manufacturing facility.  Alleging that the factory had released chlorine and other poisons, the plaintiffs, represented by VBLH&C, sued the owners and operators of the facility under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The plaintiffs sought to certify a class.  The defendants filed a motion to dismiss.  The district court granted class certification and denied the defendants’ dismissal motion.  As to the plaintiffs’ motion, the district court rejected the defendants’ argument that, because some class members had wells and others did not, factual differences regarding contamination precluded class certification.  As to the defendants’ motion, the district court rejected the defendants’ argument that the plaintiffs had failed to comply with RCRA’s notice and delay requirements.  On review under Federal Rule 23(f), the Seventh Circuit affirmed, in an opinion broadly endorsing the use of the class device in environmental property damages cases.