Associated Press Published

Freedom Industries' Bankruptcy at Crossroads

Freedom Industries

  A federal bankruptcy judge is calling for parties to meet to discuss how to conclude the case of Freedom Industries, whose January 2014 chemical spill caused a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

The Charleston Gazette reports Judge Ronald Pearson scheduled a March 3 status conference in the case.

In a Feb. 6 order, Pearson noted more than $300 million in claims had been filed against Freedom. Spill victims filed 3,800 of them.

Pearson said Freedom has $1.5 million left after starting the case with almost $16 million.

Pearson said the court isn’t comfortable deciding a proposed $3.2 million insurance settlement without consulting spill claimants. Ex-Freedom President Gary Southern has objected to the settlement.

Southern, five other ex-Freedom officials and the company itself face charges in the spill.