One of my earliest stories in 2005 was how former Crystal Lake Mayor Bob Wagner had won a class action law suit against the owners of the refinery in Blue Island. It is now owned by Valero Energy Corporation.
The suit was filed in 1995. Wagner joined it in 2000.
In 2005, in the article,
Wagner told me that the case was based on 15 boxes of information from the federal and Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies.
Wagner said there was “a pretty compelling case that there was a lot of pollution coming from that refinery that could have been avoided using reasonably available technology.
“The evidence showed refinery management was indifferent to the pollution released into the neighborhood and did little or nothing to prevent it because it was too expensive,” he continued.
“They put their profits ahead of public safety,” Wagner observed. “They were indifferent to the damage they inflected.”
A Cook County judge threw out the $120 million judgment and Wagner appealed. See
Now, the news is that the Illinois Appellate Court in Cook County has reversed the finding of the lower court on a 2-1 decision.
The plaintiffs, 6,000 area residents, are again in line for a $120 million judgment,
Wagner explained to the Chicago Tribune that there was also $25 million in interest since 2005 decision.
Naturally, the oil company will do everything in its power to avoid paying the money.