Illinois Refinery Judgment Reinstated

June 18, 2008

An Illinois appellate court reinstated a $120 million judgment against owners of the former Clark Oil refinery, reversing a Cook County judge’s decision to dissolve the class-action suit after a verdict was reached.

The lawsuit against the now-shuttered, Texas-based Valero Energy Corp. was granted class-action status in 2000, and in November 2005 a jury awarded $80 million in compensatory and $40 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit complained of pollution from the refinery in Blue Island damaging homes and plants, and making residents ill.

Cook County Circuit Judge Cheryl Starks decertified the case, saying plaintiffs did not prove that all 6,000 members of the class action had suffered the same degree of nuisance.

The appellate court Monday ruled Starks was wrong to dissolve the lawsuit.

Valero attorney Bill Day says the company was planning to appeal the ruling.

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