GE Appliances and homeowners have reached a $1.2 million settlement after a 2015 fire destroyed Appliance Park Building 6 and damaged nearby homes, according to a news release from GE Appliances on Thursday.
Immediately after the fire, a resident who lives near GE’s Appliance Park filed a class-action lawsuit against the company and Derby Industries, a distribution company that leased space in the warehouse that burned and collapsed in the massive fire.
The parties reaching the deal include the law firm of Jones Ward PLC, General Electric Company and Derby Industries, the release said. At the time of the fire, GE still owned Appliance Park; it sold its Appliances division to Haier in June 2016.
“We are pleased that after two years of litigation and negotiations, we were able to achieve a settlement that will provide compensation to area residents whose property may have been harmed by fire-related smoke and debris,” Jasper Ward, attorney for the class, said in a statement.
The parties will submit the settlement to Judge Susan Gibson of Jefferson County Circuit Court for approval and jointly administer the settlement. The firm of Gentle, Turner, Sexton & Harbison LLC, based in Birmingham, will pay out the settlement during the next year, the release stated.
The $1.2 million settlement fund for the class includes all attorneys’ fees and settlement administration costs, GE Appliances said. This sum is in addition to the nearly $650,000 that GE and Derby have paid to address property damage claims made by area residents.
After the court has preliminarily approved the settlement, the settlement administrator will contact potential claimants with details on how to make a claim, according to the release. Anyone who does not receive a settlement notice or has questions should visit GEFireSettlement.com (not yet live) for additional details.
“Although the cause of the AP-6 fire remains unknown, we’re glad to work with counsel, our neighbors, and with their Metro Council members and community leaders as we continue to address the needs of neighbors whose property was impacted,” Kim Freeman, a spokeswoman for GE Appliances, said in a statement.
“In addition to allowing affected individuals to file claims, we’re pleased that any funds that remain after claims have been satisfied will be used for neighborhood projects that can be enjoyed by the whole neighborhood,” she added.