PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Monday, October 16, 2023, the Pennsylvania Superior Court denied U.S. Steel permission to appeal an Allegheny County court’s decision to allow six Mon Valley residents to represent more than 123,000 of their neighbors in a lawsuit over air pollution from U.S. Steel.
The lawsuit, Hernandez v. U.S. Steel (Case No. GD-19-005325), arose in December 2018 after a massive fire disabled U.S. Steel’s pollution controls at its coke works in Clairton, Pennsylvania. When U.S. Steel continued production during the 102 days it took to restore those controls, the plant’s sulfurous emissions spiked and local officials warned residents of 22 communities surrounding the plant to limit their outdoor activities.
The plaintiffs claim that, during these 102 days, Mon Valley residents suffered noxious odors, burning throats, watering eyes, headaches, nausea, and trouble breathing at their homes.
By denying U.S. Steel permission to appeal, Monday’s ruling allows the representative plaintiffs to move forward to seek damages for more than 123,000 residents of the 22 communities.
Over 50,000 households will receive an informational notice in the mail that provides further information about the case and gives residents the option to stay in the case or opt out.
“We’re glad the Superior Court decided to reject U.S. Steel’s meritless appeal,” said Sarah Siskind, lead attorney for the plaintiffs and a partner at Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C. “This ruling brings us one step closer to holding U.S. Steel accountable to its Mon Valley neighbors.”
“The Superior Court’s decision reinforces one of the most important class certification decisions in Allegheny County history, if not all of Pennsylvania,” said Jim Pietz, another attorney for the plaintiffs and a partner at the Pittsburgh law firm Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC.
The class action lawsuit will now proceed to trial. The plaintiffs welcome contact from any residents of the 22 communities who would like to provide information about their experience in the 102 days after the fire. Residents can call or text (412) 545-3473, or sign up for case updates using the contact form on the following webpage: www.MonValleyPollution.com.
About Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.
Founded in 1971, MBG represents a broad range of individual, government, non-profit and corporate clients with offices in Chicago, Ill., and Madison, Wis. The firm is nationally known for its class action practice in environmental law, civil rights, employment rights, voting rights, predatory lending, as well as for complex litigation against government fraud. Its environmental practice includes individual and organizational representations, regulatory enforcement, and private law claims to protect the environment, people and their property from corporate polluters. Distinguished MBG alumni include President Barack Obama, multiple federal judges, a MacArthur Foundation fellow, and law professors at leading universities. For more information: www.LawMBG.com.