Group to Discuss Settlement Offer in Hayes Sammons Case
MISSION – Victims may soon see restitution, almost 20 years after the Hayes-Sammons warehouse in Mission was deemed a superfund site by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Superfund sites are polluted locations requiring a long-term response to clean up for hazardous material contamination. Many victims from Hayes-Sammons' contamination sued them to cover medical expenses.
Plaintiffs in the case are meeting with a group appointed by a judge to discuss their final settlement offers. A part of the agreement means they cannot make any public statements about the cases or it could jeopardize their settlement.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with a lawyer who represented the people throughout the years.
“I know everybody has been waiting for this particular date for quite some time. I, for one, am glad it’s here and hopeful that we can get it resolved and put it behind us,” Ramon Garcia said.
Garcia is one of the many lawyers representing the victims. He said the case hit several speed bumps which kept delaying it.
“This case has taken longer than any other case that I have ever heard about, just had a lot of different issues, complex issues that had to be determined by the Supreme Court. It went up to the Supreme Court twice,” he said.
The biggest road blocks were Medicare and Medicaid, since they paid some of the medical bills. When a judge orders the $8 million in restitution to be paid, it means they too are entitled to some of the money.
“That has finally been settled and they took a ridiculous amount of time. Dealing with the government is not a simple thing,” Garcia said.
He said now the victims, or family members of people who have passed away, are meeting with a group appointed by a judge to discuss a final settlement offer.
“Talking to them about their case and presenting releases for them to execute,” Garcia said.
Garcia expects the process to take several weeks, since there are more than 1,700 plaintiffs involved in the case.
Victims in the case will be meeting at the Catholic War Veterans Center at 500 West Business 83 in Mission to discuss. All others not involved will be asked to leave.
Timeline of Case:
- The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality classified the Hayes-Sammons plant as one of the first superfund sites in Texas in 1986.
- In 1988, the plant was torn down.
- The lawsuit was filed the following year in 1999.
- TCEQ tested the soil on nearby properties.
- In 2002 and 2003 results showed no contamination.
- In 2013, a judge ordered mediation.
- At the end of 2016 final settlements are being offered to the plaintiffs in the case.
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