March 22, 2012
NPR filed suit in the District Court of Kay County, Oklahoma on behalf of a putative class alleging property damage arising out of defendants’ historic operation of a zinc smelter and subsequent refusal to properly remediate the community of Blackwell, Oklahoma of heavy metal contamination. After filing the case in April 2008, defendants immediately removed the action to federal court on numerous grounds, including the Class Action Fairness Act. NPR, on behalf of the class, successfully achieved remand of the case in the district court. Defendants appealed the remand order to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. After extensive briefing and oral argument, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s remand order. Following remand, NPR moved to certify a class of property owners within certain geographic boundaries surrounding the zinc smelter. After lengthy briefing, the presiding judge certified the class proposed by NPR and appointed NPR lead counsel on behalf of the class. After certification, the case ultimately settled, providing a benefit to the class of over $118 million, including both monetary compensation and remedial activity. The proposed settlement has received final approval from the Court.
NP Partner Neil Smith led the prosecution of this case.