You may have been mailed a Notice or seen notice in a newspaper which concerns your potential entitlement to recover compensation for alleged groundwater and air contamination from the Millsboro, Delaware poultry processing facility owned by Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc. Read the Notice carefully as it concerns your legal rights and contains deadlines for participation.
A $65,000,000.00 proposed settlement (“Class Action Settlement”) has been reached that offers payments to the “Mountaire Settlement Class” consisting of: all Persons who, on or after May 1, 2000, owned, leased, resided on, or were employed on a full-time basis at: (a) property located in whole or part within the Groundwater Area, which is geographically bounded by the solid blue line on Exhibit A, and not the Air Area, which is bounded by the dashed red line on Exhibit A; (b) property located in whole or part within the Air Area, but not the Groundwater Area; and (c) property located in whole or part within both the Groundwater Area and the Air Area.
Excluded from the definition of the class are: (1) Defendants; (2) any entity in which Defendants have a controlling interest; (3) any Person with an ownership interest in Defendants; (4) any current or former officer or director of Defendants; (5) any current or former employee of any Defendant for any potential exposure during their employment by such Defendant; (6) Persons who have entered into separate settlement agreements with any Defendant related to claims similar to those claims made in the Action; and (7) the legal representatives, successors, or assigns of Defendants.
In addition to this Class Action Settlement, in another case in Federal Court, State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control v. Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc., C.A. No. 18-838 (MN), Mountaire has agreed to engage in certain additional activities to prevent future harm to the groundwater, reduce air emissions and provide residents an avenue to report and receive follow-up on air pollution complaints in the form of a First Amended Consent Decree before the Federal Court for approval. These additional activities include: refraining from land application of sludges and biosolids pending certain wastewater treatment upgrades; continuing to provide bottled water to certain residents; installing at least 60 acres of phytoremediation; and establishing a process to respond to odor complaints. The Parties estimate that the aggregate value of these separate commitments is expected to be approximately $120 million for incurred and contracted costs, exclusive of long-term operation and maintenance and contingencies. Further information about the Federal Case, including resolution of claims by Intervenors in that case, is set forth below.
The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If it does, and after any appeals are finally resolved, payments will be made to those who have filed a valid claim and suffered compensable injuries and damages.
|Your Legal Rights and Options in This Lawsuit|
|REGISTER PROPERLY||You must register to be considered for payment from this Class Action Settlement. You may do so by either (1) clicking here, and completing the Registration Form online, or (2) mailing the completed Registration Form to the following address:
Cuppels v. Mountaire Class Action Settlement Administrator
You must complete the Registration Form and submit it by mail postmarked on or before by March 22, 2021 or online through the Mountaire Settlement website on or before March 22, 2021, in order to be considered for payment through the Class Action Settlement. Those who fail to register by this date by mail or through the Mountaire Settlement website will NOT be eligible for compensation.
|OPT OUT||You can exclude yourself from this settlement if you do not want to participate in this Class Action Settlement. If you own/owned, reside/resided, or are/were employed at property in the Settlement Class Area and you wish to opt out of the Settlement Class, you must send a written request to opt out, postmarked on or before February 22, 2021 to the following address:
Cuppels v. Mountaire Class Action Settlement Administrator
A Request for Exclusion (“Opt Out”) Form can be found here.
|Object||If you wish to participate in the Class Action Settlement, but wish to object in whole or part to the proposed Settlement, you must do so on or before February 22, 2021. Instructions for submitting an objection are included in the Notice. Whether or not you object to the Settlement, you must register if you wish to be considered for compensation from this Settlement should the Settlement be approved. You cannot both request to be excluded and object.|
|GO TO A HEARING||The Court will hold a hearing on the fairness of the proposed settlement on April 12, 2021, at 9:30 a.m., either (a) the Sussex County Superior Court Courthouse, located at 1 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947 or (b) virtually (such as on-line through the internet), due to the ongoing threat to public health posed by COVID-19. At this hearing, you can ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the proposed Class Action Settlement if you have filed a timely objection to the proposed Settlement. You may be represented by an attorney if you choose to attend this hearing; however, you do not need to come to the hearing or speak to be considered for possible compensation. You only need to properly register to be considered for compensation.|
|DO NOTHING||You do not need to take any action if you do not wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class. However, if you take no action you will receive no benefits from the Class Action Settlement. You will also give up any rights you have to sue Mountaire Farms of Delaware, Inc.; Mountaire Farms Inc.; and Mountaire Corporation for injuries or damages related to groundwater contamination or air pollution.|
These rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in this notice.
Do not call the Sussex County Superior Court or Mountaire or Mountaire’s Counsel, as they cannot provide you with legal advice or any opinion regarding the Lawsuit or proposed Settlement.