OKLAHOMA CITY (July 31, 2009)—A federal judge has approved a $10.5 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma against carbon black producer Continental Carbon Co.
The suit, filed in 2005, alleged damages to property near Continental Carbon's Ponca City, Okla., plant, from carbon black emissions and pollutants. The case was certified as a class action in January 2007, with a class of 1,800 property owners, according to documents from the U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma.
The parties reached their initial settlement Feb. 6, a day before a trial was set to begin. U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron granted the settlement July 31.
Future claims will be handled outside of the courtroom through notices to the company and subsequent inspection, with arbitration the final determinant if necessary, according to the settlement.
Counsel for the plaintiffs will receive 40 percent of the settlement, or $4.2 million, court records show. In addition to Continental Carbon, sister company CCC USA Corp. and parent firm China Synthetic Rubber Corp. were named defendants in the case.