HILLSIDE LANDFILL LAWSUIT UPDATE
Last Updated: April 24, 2020
We hope that you and your family are safe during this unique period in our nation’s history.
The last several months have been very busy in the Hillside Landfill litigation. The owners and operators of the landfill, led by Allied Waste, a subsidiary of Republic Services, Inc., have refused to globally settle the case for all 2655 plaintiffs who were forced to breathe the landfill gas from the Hillside Landfill, from 2006 to 2010 and thereafter, and therefore, we commenced the very first trial in this case. The first trial was a mammoth undertaking, involving more than 70 witnesses, including 15 technical experts and doctors, who were scheduled to testify over the course of a 5 week trial.
We picked a jury on March 9, 2020 and started the trial the next day. After 6 days of damning testimony describing the horrific odors and mismanagement of the landfill by the Mayor, Fire Chief and other Village officials, as well as hearing evidence of the more than 3000 calls to the Landfill Odor Complaint Hotline, the Judge was forced to declare a mistrial due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court system shut down because the long days of testimony in a full courtroom posed unacceptable risks to the participants, courtroom staff, and jurors.
The mistrial means that we will have to start over whenever the court system re-opens. We are in weekly communication with the Judge and she promises to schedule the new trial for the earliest available date, hopefully in June.
The Judge also expanded the first trial from 5 to 10 claims, so we are busy taking additional depositions of family members and friends to document the effects of the odors on the plaintiffs in the next Trial Group.
However, despite the fact that we were only able to showcase our case’s merits for one week in the planned 5 week trial and the Court was ordered to close for the pandemic, the Judge has now required the Defendants to face the first of more than 18 trials over the next 4+ years, which is great news for you, the plaintiffs. This order accelerates the timeline for trial dates with firm start dates, which will hopefully bring a swifter resolution to everyone’s claims. The Judge has ordered that subsequent trials will begin roughly every two months after we complete the resumed first trial. As we requested, these trials will have 30-40 plaintiffs in each trial, grouped by household, to resolve larger numbers of claims as rapidly as possible. We have already set tentative groups of plaintiffs for those trials and we will be in touch as your case comes up. With 2655 cases, however, it will take a while if Republic Waste continues to insist on trying every case.
We will do what it takes, however, to seek justice for all of you. Meanwhile, if you need more immediate information, feel free to call our offices for an update, as we continue to operate during the quarantine.
GLEN J. DUNN & ASSOCIATES, LTD.
REOTT LAW OFFICES, LLC