A $900,000 settlement has been reached in the lawsuit over Closed Loop Refining and Recovery’s abandoned CRT materials in Ohio, the largest agreement yet.
Charlotte, N.C.-based eCycleSecure, which shipped over 7 million pounds of CRT materials to Closed Loop in Columbus, Ohio, agreed to pay $903,000 to help warehouse owners clean up the three warehouses.
Closed Loop failed in 2016, leaving hundreds of millions of pounds of CRT glass in storage at sites in Ohio and Arizona. The Ohio landlords, Garrison Southfield Park and Olymbec USA, sued over 40 material suppliers in March 2019, claiming the companies are each responsible to help pay for cleanup of an estimated 159 million pounds at three Columbus facilities. They estimate the cost to clean up the two Garrison Southfield Park warehouses and one Olymbec USA warehouse at $18.37 million.
The case is in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
So far, 15 companies have reached settlements and had them approved by the court. Another eight companies have reached settlements that the court has not yet ruled on. The eCycleSecure settlement, which was filed April 1, is among those that haven’t been considered by the judge yet.
The ITAD and e-scrap recycling company shipped materials to Closed Loop between June 2012 and September 2015. The $903,000 eCycleSecure agreed to pay comes out to 12.8 cents per pound, less than the 14 cents per pound most of the other settlers have agreed to pay (the exception was nonprofit processor Comprenew, which negotiated 2.5 cents per pound after providing landlords with financial information showing it couldn’t afford 14 cents per pound).
According to a motion to settle filed by the parties, the plaintiffs agreed to allow eCycleSecure to pay 91% of what they believe was the company’s share for three reasons.
First, eCycleSecure provided additional information regarding “the identity and role of other [potentially responsible parties].” Second, they noted eCycleSecure’s cooperation with the plaintiffs. Lastly, according to the document, “plaintiffs have also taken into consideration the fact that Settlor obtained and paid the premiums for pollution legal liability insurance that provided coverage for cleanup costs.”
The settlement is the largest in the Closed Loop case to date. The next largest, at $647,000, was reached with Federal Prison Industries (doing business as UNICOR), which shipped 4.6 million pounds from 2012 to 2015. The judge hasn’t yet approved or rejected that agreement.
In addition to the 23 companies that reached settlements filed in court, another 13 have not settled and continue to duke it out in court. Another six defendants never responded to the lawsuit or have closed down.
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