Class Action Notice

Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania

County of Allegheny

Hernandez et al. v. United States Steel Corporation
(Case No. GD-19-005325)

You Could Be Part of this Class Action Lawsuit.

The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has authorized this Notice.

You are not being sued.

Did you live in the Mon Valley between December 2018 and April 2019?

The Court has certified a class action against U.S. Steel for residents of 22 communities in the Mon Valley.

      • You are automatically included in the class action if you lived in one of those communities
        between December 24, 2018 and April 4, 2019. To stay in the class action, do nothing at all.
      • If you do not want to be included in the class action, you need to opt out by March 2, 2024.
      • The class action does not include the Court’s employees or U.S. Steel officers, executives, and managers.

Why was I notified about this lawsuit?

You are being notified about this lawsuit because you may be a member of the class action that has been certified by the Court. That is, you may be a member of the group of over 123,000 residents in 22 communities Plaintiffs claim were affected by the fire at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works on December 24, 2018.

This notice gives you important information about how the lawsuit may affect you. And it tells you how to opt out of the lawsuit if you don’t want to be included.

If you remain in the class action and a jury finds in favor of the Plaintiffs at trial or the parties settle, you may be entitled to compensation.

Please read this notice carefully.

What is the class action lawsuit about?

The class action lawsuit is about the fire at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works on Christmas Eve of 2018. The fire disabled pollution control equipment U.S. Steel uses to remove sulfur from gas produced during the steelmaking process. It took U.S. Steel 102 days to repair the equipment.

The Plaintiffs who brought this class action claim that U.S. Steel was negligent in failing to prevent the fire. They also claim that U.S. Steel’s decision to continue production without pollution controls increased the sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide pollution that U. S. Steel was releasing into the air, and that this caused nuisance conditions—including offensive odors, irritations, and discomforts—which disrupted the residents’ ability to use and enjoy their properties.

The Plaintiffs will ask a jury for money damages to compensate residents for the lost ability to use and enjoy their properties that this “nuisance” caused, and for punitive damages to prevent similar harms in the future.

U.S. Steel denies that it did anything wrong, and claims that during this 102-day period it implemented several mitigation efforts to limit the impact of the outage.

The lawyers for the Plaintiffs will have to prove their claims in court.

What does class certification mean for this case?

By certifying this lawsuit as a class action, the Court has decided that the Plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit may pursue their claims on behalf of a “class” of more than 123,000 residents of 22 communities in the Mon Valley.

Am I included in the class action?

Anyone who lived in one of the 22 communities depicted on the map between 12/24/18 and 4/4/19 is included in the class action except for the Court’s employees and U.S. Steel’s officers, executives, and managers.

The communities are:

East McKeesport
East Pittsburgh
Elizabeth Borough
Elizabeth Township
Jefferson Hills
North Braddock
North Versailles
Pleasant Hills
Port Vue
West Elizabeth
West Mifflin

What legal claims are covered by the class action?

The following legal claims are covered by the class action:

The class action covers claims for lost use and enjoyment of property arising from offensive odors, physical discomforts and irritations, and worries caused by the increased pollution after the fire.

The class action does not cover any other legal claims. For example, it does not cover claims for personal injuries or diagnosed medical harms (except for contemporaneous physical reactions to the increased pollution after the fire). Nor does it cover claims that the fire decreased the value of the residents’ property or claims for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property. If you believe you have a legal claim the class action does not cover, there is a possibility that such claim will be foreclosed by the class action unless you opt out. Please consult your own lawyer about whether to do so.

Do I need to hire my own lawyer?

No, if you stay in the class action you do not need to hire your own lawyer. The Mon Valley residents who started this case hired two law firms — Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C. and Feinstein, Doyle, Payne & Kravec, LLC — to bring the class action, and the Court has appointed these two law firms as “Class Counsel” to represent the entire class action, including you. However, if you prefer to hire your own lawyer, you may do so at your own expense.

What are my options?

You have two options: You may stay in the case or opt out.

If you stay in the class action, Class Counsel will continue to pursue the case on your behalf, including at trial. If the Plaintiffs win at trial or the class action settles, you will be eligible to make a claim for money damages. But if U.S. Steel wins at trial, you will receive nothing. And whichever side wins, your rights will be determined by the outcome of this class action. In other words, Mon Valley residents who stay in the class action will not be able to start (or be part of) any other lawsuit against U.S. Steel over harms from the fire on Christmas Eve in 2018 and the 102 days after.

If you opt out of the class action, you will give up the right to claim potential money damages, if any, as part of the class action. But you will have the right to sue U.S. Steel on your own by hiring your own lawyer at your own expense. Such claims will not be affected by the outcome of the class action.

If I want to opt out, how do I do it?

If you wish to opt, you must either: (1) return the detachable form on the postcard notice, if you received one in the mail, or (2) mail a letter saying you want to be excluded from the class action to the case administrator at:

U.S. Steel Class Action Opt-Outs
PO BOX 2599
FARIBAULT MN 55021-9599

The postcard form or letter must be postmarked no later than March 2, 2024 and must include the name of the case (Hernandez et al. v. U.S. Steel Corp.), and the name, address, telephone number, and signature for each adult who is opting out.

How do I get more information?

For copies of documents or answers to your questions, contact the:

    • Class Counsel (Lawyers for the Class): Sarah Siskind, David Baltmanis, Ryan Miller, Matt Owens
        • 1-412-545-3473
    • Case Administrator (For Opt-Outs)
        • 1-833-915-0879
Gadiel Castro-ZapataUS Steel Long Form Notice