Middlesex County Superior Court Approves Ciba Geigy Class Action


The Honorable Jamie D. Happas, P.J.S.C., granted Final Approval of a proposed Settlement during a Fairness Hearing at the Middlesex County Courthouse, New Jersey, resolving a lawsuit filed by Class Representatives, Kathleen Janes, Anthony and Lynne Sermarini, John and Connie McDaniel, and Robert Hann against CIBA-GEIGY Corporation and other defendants. Reviewing the extensive Court record developed over 10 years of intensive litigation, examining the parties’ detailed legal and factual submissions, and finding that no Class members objected, Judge Happas ruled that the Settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate. The Court noted that the Settlement, which includes direct and indirect monetary benefits to Class members, resulted from counsel and the parties thinking “outside of the box.” The Settlement is valued at approximately $20 million dollars.

The Class Representatives had alleged that the defendants manufactured a variety of chemicals and compounds at CIBA-GEIGY’s facility in Toms River Township, New Jersey, generating extensive wastes. They further alleged that the Ciba defendants improperly disposed of these wastes in various unlined areas, contaminating the site and neighboring area.

The Class Representatives contended that their properties lost value because of the contamination and the Ciba defendants’ delay in cleaning it up. The Action did not seek recovery for personal injuries or medical treatment.

Complimenting current Class Counsel, the Keefe Law Firm and Pellitieri Rabstein & Altman, the Court described their work for the Class Representatives and the Class as “Legal representation at its best.”

“I am very happy that we were able to conclude this decade of litigation so favorably for the homeowners in Oak Ridge Section of Toms River, who have lived in the shadow of the CIBA–GEIGY site – one of this State’s biggest Superfund sites. We came to know well, and to respect greatly, the Class Representatives. Their dedication and perseverance were matchless. We are delighted that they, as well the attorneys and support staff that worked so hard, well and long on this case, are now rewarded by a tremendous result”, stated John E. Keefe, Jr. of Keefe Law Firm. Mr. Keefe particularly lauded the work of Stephen T. Sullivan, Jr. also of Keefe Law Firm, whose efforts were instrumental in producing the Settlement.

Keefe Law Firm’s headquarters is located at 170 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701 with additional offices at 57 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 and 56 Ferry Street, Newark, NJ 07105.