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Federal judge calls for water crisis settlement checks be mailed by late August

A federal judge told attorneys involved in the West Virginia water crisis case that he wants settlement checks for simple residential claims mailed out by the end of August. (WCHS/WVAH)

A federal judge told attorneys involved in the West Virginia water crisis case that he wants settlement checks for simple residential claims mailed out by the end of August.

A status conference hearing was held Tuesday in Charleston regarding the 98,000 claims made by people, businesses and government agencies affected by the 2014 Freedom Industries chemical spill.

Lawyers disputed published reports that there are so many claims that payments to thousands of victims will have to be cut 20 percent because many of those claims were found to be duplicates.

People whose claims are being challenged will need to act quickly.

"As soon as people get the deficiency letter, they need to jump on it and the settlement administrator is going to be watching the clock," Kevin Thompson said.

The settlement administrator indicated last week that those first checks would not be out until September, but Judge John Copenhaver wants quicker action taken. Separate mailings are expected for claims that required individual reviews. Copenhaver signed the order last week clearing the way for payment of the $151 million settlement to victims in nine counties who saw their drinking water tainted.

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