Maryland Fly Ash Settlement Wins Court Approval

Hassan Murphy, managing partner of the Murphy Firm, announced Dec. 31 that Judge Alfred Nance, Circuit Court Baltimore City, has approved the multimillion-dollar settlement of the firm's class action suit against Constellation Power Generation, a subsidiary of Constellation Energy, on behalf of residents of Gambrills, Md. The litigation claimed that Constellation contaminated residents water supplies and endangered lives by dumping coal ash in a sand and gravel quarry near their homes in Anne Arundel County for more than a decade.

The approved settlement totals $54 million.

The settlement provides for:

  • The connection of 84 households, previously supplied by private wells, to public water;
  • The establishment of two trust funds to compensate affected property owners and provide site enhancements in the neighborhood;
  • The remediation and restoration of the former quarry site; and
  • The commitment to cease future deliveries of new coal ash to the quarry.

The costs and benefits of these expenditures, improvements, and legal fees currently are estimated to be $54 million, said Murphy.

“The settlement is a milestone in Maryland environmental and legal history. It serves the plaintiffs’ personal and economic rights, and provides for their future safety as well as long-term restitution. The Murphy Firm along with The Angelos Firm is honored to have played a decisive role in bringing about a speedy, equitable solution to a significant problem which threatened potential long term dangers to both the environment and human well-being. This landmark settlement effectively mitigates risks of future harm. The tragic coal-ash spill in Tennessee demonstrates the devastating impact that coal-ash can have on unsuspecting communities. This settlement clearly signals communities near fly-ash dumps that they can reclaim their communities and regain their lives.”