Freedom Industries Finds Out That Poisoning People Does Not Cost Much Money At All


It was just a couple weeks ago that we learned that Freedom Industries would be suffering under the weight of a crushing $11,000 fine from OSHA for basically poisoning 300,000 people, which works out to a shade under 4 cents for each lucky ducky poisoned person. Now comes time for the class action civil lawsuit settlement, which is just as depressingly paltry, because everything is terrible.

First, let's just have some Real Talk about class action settlements. They are often, to use some really technical legal terminology, total bullshit designed to line the pockets of attorneys while throwing something embarrassingly small like a McDonald's Happy Meal coupon at the actual plaintiffs. It is no surprise that this is pretty much what happened in this case.

A settlement was reached Friday with the company at the center of a January chemical leak that contaminated the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians, according to an attorney for the plaintiffs.

Freedom Industries Inc. would transfer $2.9 million into a trust fund that will be used "for the greater good," according to Anthony Majestro, one of the attorneys in the class-action lawsuit.

Oh did we tell you the best part about this? We did not yet tell you the best part about this. The $2.9 million isn't actually coming out of the pockets of Freedom Industries because of course it is not.

The deal would set aside for leak victims all of a $2.9 million insurance settlement that Freedom Industries reached with AIG Specialty, the now-bankrupt chemical firm’s insurance carrier.

Yes, you've got that right. An insurance settlement that Freedom Industries received, because of course they're insured somehow against POISONING FUCKTONS OF WATER, is what will cover the class action settlement and oh also too, people can make a claim against that money but instead what should really happen is it should go into a trust to cover chemical testing and other things that likely could be done by the government if people in West Virginia wanted to pay taxes.

While we applaud a fund that pays for things like testing the water in the land where EVERYONE GOT THEIR WATER POISONED, we would also dig on Freedom Industries having to cough up some fucking blood and pay people. But oh, sadness of sadness, they are bankrupt now and cannot possibly reimburse anyone for the whole water-poisoning thing.

Well, at roughly $10 per poisoned person, this is orders of magnitude more impressive than the OSHA fine, but it still doesn't make us happy. Is it too much to wish for a return to Colonial-era punishment? Because if we could throw Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries and generally abysmal human being, in the stocks for about 6 months, we'd probably feel much more chill about the absurdly low fine. Is it too late to make that part of the class action settlement?

[CNN/Charleston Gazette]


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