MADISON — A representative of the Federal Bankruptcy court will be in Boone County this evening to assist those wanting to file claims against Freedom Industries over the January chemical spill and water crisis.
A public meeting in the Madison City Council Chambers on Thursday, July 17, 2014 from 4 to 6 p.m. The address is 255 Washington Avenue, Madison, West Virginia.
About 300,000 people were affected by the leak of crude MCHM into the Elk River and water supply, and many of those were in Boone County.
James Lane, local notice and claims agent, says the identities of potential claimants are unknown except for those who filed civil actions against the company before it filed for bankruptcy.
“Prior to the meeting I will be in Madison and Danville passing out claims forms to businesses and persons to hopefully help get information circulated in the cities,” Lane said. “At the meeting I will also answer questions and provide information to anyone in need. I will not be giving legal advice and I will not be soliciting clients. I am basically hired to help the Bankruptcy Judge and Court. I will have the claim forms that people can complete and mail or deliver to the Bankruptcy Court in Charleston.”
Lane said this week marks the start of newspaper and radio announcements of the Aug. 1 deadline to file claims. To file, go to the bankruptcy court’s website at www.wvsb.uscourts.gov and follow the link to Freedom Industries.
People also may file paper forms, which are available in libraries and One Stop locations in Boone, Putnam and Kanawha counties or call Lane’s staff toll-free at 1-866-245-0312 if they have questions, and they can also email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Individuals and businesses have asserted claims for damages as a result of the Freedom Industries chemical spill,” Lane explained. “Examples of damages that individuals have suffered may include out of pocket expenses, such as bottled water and travel costs, lost wages, medical expenses. Examples of business claims are lost income, lost sales and increased expenditures. I was appointed by Judge Pearson to assist the Court in getting information to persons and businesses about the bankruptcy case and the deadline to file proofs of claims. I am also to provide assistance to persons with the claims process.”
Persons who were harmed by the chemical spill can file a claim with the Bankruptcy Court by completing a written claim form, or they can complete an online form at the Bankruptcy Court’s website at www.wvsb.uscourts.gov . Once a claimant goes to that website, there is a link to Freedom Industries, where a claimant can complete an online claim and submit it electronically.
Before filing claims, claimants should consider carefully their damages and expenditures, and while they are not required to file copies of their receipts, claimants are encouraged to file with their claims scanned copies of their receipts if possible, Lane added.
“Claimants should keep all receipts that show out of pocket expenditures,” he said. “The Court’s website has other information about the case and the claims process.”
There is a facebook page set up called “Freedom Bankruptcy Claims”.
The address of the Court is Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse, 300 Virginia Street, East, Room 3200, Charleston, WV 25301.
(Fred Pace is the Editor for the Coal Valley News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-369-1165, or on Twitter @fcpace62)