$4.1M settlement in landfill odor case approved

Up to 2,039 people who live close to a Dayton landfill will be eligible to share less than half of a $4.1 million class-action lawsuit settlement, court records show.

The number of class members in the federal court settlement approved last week with the Stony Hollow Landfill involving odor issues emitted from the site has not been determined, records show.

But the settlement order by U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose indicates they would include “all owner/occupants and renters of residential property residing within approximately 2.5 miles of the landfill’s property boundary” between Oct. 31, 2012 and Nov. 26.

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About a dozen residents of Dayton and Moraine were approved to opt out of the settlement, court records show.

Odors from the South Gettysburg Avenue landfill have drawn hundreds of complaints from residents in Jefferson Twp., Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood and points beyond since early 2016.

The lawsuit filed in November of that year by Moraine resident Carly Beck claimed Stony Hollow “failed to sufficiently collect, capture, and destroy landfill gas generated at its landfill to prevent fugitive emissions and to otherwise prevent odors from the landfill from invading the homes and property.”

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The settlement states that Stony Hollow owner Waste Management will pay $1.875 million to no more than 2,039 class action members.

In his order dated Nov. 26, Rose called the settlement “fair, reasonable, and adequate as to, and in the best interest of, the settlement class and each of the settlement class members, in light of the factual, legal, practical, and procedural considerations raised by this litigation.”

The specific number of those approved as class-action members is not yet known, court records show because “class members whose claims were not initially approved due to a lack of documentation or failure to meet other formal requirements are being provided an opportunity to supplement their claims,” court records filed last week state.

Each approved class member will receive “at least $527.21, but likely more,” documents show.

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Attempts on Monday to reach attorneys for Beck were unsuccessful. Attorneys’ fees — to be funded by Stony Hollow — total more than $793,000 in the case, court records show.

The settlement also requires the Waste Management-owned site to invest $1.45 million there to “reduce the potential for odor emissions,” according to court records.

Waste Management officials said they were glad that the settlement has been approved.

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“Stony Hollow Landfill is very pleased that the matter has been settled and resolved. Our relationships with our neighbors are very important to us,” according to a statement released by Kathy Trent, senior public affairs manager.

The court’s order states that the settlement be funded within five business after the filing becomes final, according to Waste Management. The company said it has until Jan. 3 to deposit money for the settlement.

“At that time, the plaintiffs’ attorneys will be responsible to distribute the funds,” according to Trent’s statement. “The landfill looks forward to continuing to operate in full compliance with our permits and all applicable regulations.”

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