Court approves sinkhole class-action suit

Published: May. 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2013 at 9:27 AM CDT
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(Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury)
(Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A federal court has approved a class-action lawsuit for people impacted by the giant Louisiana sinkhole.

It's been almost a year since a massive sinkhole near Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou began causing problems. Bubbling in the bayou led to the now 15-acre sinkhole. About 350 people have been forced out of their homes since August.

A New Orleans attorney is handling the class-action suit. There has not been a response from Texas Brine about the lawsuit.

It has been nine months since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes.

Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left a nine-acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and have been for the past seven months. Most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week.

On March 13, Texas-Brine, the Houston based company that owns the salt dome that caused the sinkhole, announced it would begin assessing the homes and offering buyouts and settlements for the 350 people evacuated.

To date, no buyouts have been offered. As of May 16th, Texas Brine has indicated that 110 residents have requested settlement forms; 102 residents have submitted claim information sheets; 97 properties have been inspected; and five properties remain to be inspected.

Texas Brine had committed to issuing settlement offers within 45 days of property inspections. As of May 20, 66 inspected properties had reached the 45-day window. On May 24, 85 properties will be on the 45th day since inspection and 87 properties will be on the 45th day since inspection on May 31.

Sonny Cranch, the spokesman for Texas Brine, said the company found out in the eleventh hour its insurance carriers were not in support of the buyout process.

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