Fort Lauderdale to pay $18 million settlement, residents say old incinerator made them sick

City commissioner calls settlement amount ‘insulting’

After years of legal battles, a settlement has finally been reached in the toxic land fight in Fort Lauderdale.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After years of legal battles, a settlement has finally been reached in the toxic land fight in Fort Lauderdale.

Nearly 200 people files a class action lawsuit after they say the land made them sick.

A 13-year-long legal battle involving the City of Fort Lauderdale finally is nearing an end.

"Were hopeful that this is the end of this for the city," said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. "We’ve spent an awful lot of time and money, but I also feel that it's time that these people get paid for the loss they suffered."

City commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a settlement worth $18 million after residents of the city's historic Durrs neighborhood filed suit more than a decade ago.

They claimed ash from an old city run incinerator caused them to get sick.

The facility, which used to sit near Lincoln Park off Sistrunk Blvd, was later torn down, and turned into a recycling station.

Attorney Louise Caro represents the 182 named plaintiffs and has been involved in the case since the very beginning.

"It's been a long, arduous litigation, fiercely fought," Caro said. "A lot of these diseases can be manifested several years later, and we have seen that people are still getting sicker."

Diseases which Caro said include cancer, as well as several other reproductive and breathing issues.

The city attorney ultimately recommended commissioners approve the settlement, saying the city has already spent more than $5 million on legal fees.

City Commissioner Robert Mckinzie, who grew up in the neighborhood, feels residents deserve more.

“I think the settlement is a good thing, it’s been a long road,” he said. “I think the dollar amount is insulting to what we have experienced as a community.”

As for what comes next, Local 10 News' Trent Kelly learned that residents will be meeting with their attorneys to discuss the settlement in more detail.

It will be up to a special magistrate to decide how the funds are distributed.

About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.