On June 21, the plaintiff City of Evanston and the defendants Northern Illinois Gas Company (Nicor) and Commonwealth Edison Company advised Federal Judge John Z. Lee that they had reached a settlement to end the James Park environmental litigation. On June 25 the Court entered an order pursuant to the settlement stating, “This case is dismissed with prejudice with each side to bear their own costs and fees.”
In response to questions by the RoundTable on June 25, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the settlement conference took place on June 21, and the “City and utilities agreed to end the case. Both sides cover their own costs.” He added that the City received no payment from the utilities in exchange for dismissing the case, and that the case will be dismissed “with prejudice.”
A dismissal with prejudice bars the City from pursuing in a subsequent case the claims that were alleged in the James Park lawsuit or that could have been raised in that lawsuit against the utilities.
In the lawsuit, the City sought to hold the utilities responsible for alleged environmental contamination in the James Park area. On April 9, after extensive evidentiary hearings, Judge Lee denied the City’s motion for a preliminary injunction to require the utilities to develop a plan to remediate the alleged contamination in the James Park area. In a 45-page memorandum opinion, Judge Lee found that the City failed to meet its burden of establishing any of the elements needed to obtain a preliminary injunction.
The City has spent more than $8.2 million on the matter.
Mr. Bobkiewicz told the RoundTable, “Staff will discuss next steps on remediation efforts at a City Council meeting in July or early August.”