Little Village residents secure $12.25 million class-action settlement over Hilco smokestack implosion

Dust from the April 2020 implosion blanketed the Chicago neighborhood in what many denounced as “environmental racism.”

With almost no notice on Easter weekend 2020, property developers imploded a gigantic smokestack at the former Crawford coal-fired power plant in Little Village, one of the city’s major Latino neighborhoods. Dramatic aerial footage showed the implosion enveloping the neighborhood from the plant located at 3501 S. Pulaski Road.

Local residents including Juan Rangel retained Loevy + Loevy to pursue claims against the developers. The lawsuit we filed led to a $12,250,000 class-action settlement, which recently received preliminary approval from the judge overseeing the case.

The settlement allows class members to recover for property damage and personal injuries by submitting a short claim form. A hearing where the judge overseeing the case will decide whether the settlement will receive final approval is set for April 2024.

The demolition was a traumatic event for Little Village residents, who were subjected to a massive toxic plume over the Easter holiday weekend, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The significant $12,250,000 settlement will provide a meaningful recovery for class members.

We encourage all class members to file claims at https://littlevillagesmokestack.com/ by March 26.

“This was never about money. It is about justice for the Little Village community,” stated plaintiff Juan Rangel. “If it weren’t for this class action suit, however, the tragic event almost four years ago would have been long forgotten, especially by the elected leaders who did next to nothing to address the concerns of our neighbors. Now, the crucial work of informing Little Village residents about filing their claims begins.”

Led by the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), the Little Village community has long fought against the use of their community as a toxic dumping ground, successfully campaigning to force the closure of the Crawford Coal Plant, which was long one of just two dirty, coal-fired power plants in the country operating in an urban neighborhood.

Read more about the settlement in the Chicago Sun-Times, “Hilco to pay $12.25 million in class-action lawsuit over dust cloud debacle in Little Village.”

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If you or your property were impacted by the demolition of the smokestack at the former Crawford Coal Plant in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood in April 2020, you may be entitled to compensation from a class action settlement. You can learn more about the settlement and file a claim at www.littlevillagesmokestack.com. If you have questions, you may also contact the attorneys working on the settlement by calling (800) 244-0942.