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Freedom Industries Executives Agree to Financial Settlement

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two former Freedom Industries executives have agreed to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a chemical spill that tainted tap water for 300,000 people.

Under the proposed settlement, former Freedom President Gary Southern would pay $350,000 and former executive Dennis Farrell would pay $50,000.

A motion filed Wednesday by the plaintiffs asks the U.S. District Court in Charleston to give preliminary approval to the settlement and schedule a hearing on final approval. The plaintiffs are residents and businesses affected by the January 2014 spill of coal-cleaning chemicals from a Freedom site in Charleston  near a public water intake valve in the Elk River.

Southern and Farrell are awaiting sentencing on federal pollution charges. They are among several defendants named in the lawsuit.

Freedom filed for bankruptcy following the spill. A federal bankruptcy judge approved a liquidation plan in October.

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