MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) - Less than two weeks have passed and those affected by WestMichigan's million-gallon oil spill are starting to learn theiroptions of what to do next.
Attorneys with two law firms on the east side of the statetraveled to Marshall to encourage affected residents to participatein a class-action lawsuit.
More than 150 people showed up to learn more at the VFW hallin Marshall.
Although experts say there are benefits to class-actionlawsuits, they also have their drawbacks.
On the positive side, participants don't have to do anythingbut sign up. There is no risk and no cost up front.
However, they will be bound to whatever happens in court,Cooley Law School Professor Curt Benson said. Participants alsohave no control over how the case is presented.
Those listed on the lawsuit will not have the option to sueagain, even if the suit fails.
Still, residents such as Christine Anderson attended themeeting to hear about their options.
"How are we supposed to know what to do?" Anderson said. "I hada great life two weeks ago. I was happy. I don't know where we'regonna go now or what we're gonna do."
Anderson, who lives in the Baker Estates mobile homecommunity, said Enbridge officials encouraged her and her neighborsto move out and allow Enbridge to buy their homes. She doesn't knowwhat she should do, she told 24 Hour News 8.
"This is Battle Creek and Marshall -- who ever expected anoil spill?" she shouted at Thursday night's meeting.
The attorneys acknowledged they are among those who stand tomake a profit from the lawsuit. But they have done environmentallawsuits such as this before and are not capitalizing off thespill, they said.
"This is a catastrophe," said Elizabeth Thomson, of Hertz Schram P.C. "Thisis a big deal. This is not just a matter of running out andcollecting a few bucks and lawyers trying to make money."
Before the lawsuit can proceed, a judge will have to approve itsclass-action status.
The lawsuit was filed last Friday, attorneys said.
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