- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Hundreds of Muscatine residents who settled lawsuits against a local polluter will be given the chance to void the deals and rejoin a class-action lawsuit.

District Judge Tom Reidel says he has “significant doubt” that residents who opted out of the class had a full understanding of deals they signed with Grain Processing Corp.

He says attorneys didn’t disclose important terms, including that they’d take one-third of the payments. He called GPC’s timing in negotiating settlements “highly suspect.”

The settlements compensated residents based on a formula, including a maximum $22,000 after attorneys’ fees. They also required residents to grant GPC easements on their land and give up other legal rights.

The court is sending notices to 2,000 residents who opted out to decide whether to rejoin the class. The lawsuit alleges the company spewed pollution over their neighborhoods for decades. Trial’s scheduled for next year.

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