Peerless pays up 

You may remember a 1999 Metro Times article about attempts to form a labor union at a southwest Detroit company called Peerless Metal Powders & Abrasives. The company was able to beat back the organizing attempt, but the drive helped draw attention to the problems the company was allegedly causing for residents living near the plant. A class action lawsuit was filed.

Last week the company agreed to pay 42 homeowners living in the area between $1,000 and $2,000 each.

Take away attorney fees, and that doesn’t leave residents much. Tom Vincent, the lawyer representing Peerless, said the $54,000 paid out by the company is just a way of cutting its losses. To keep fighting would have cost much more than that, he explained, adding that the company hasn’t admitted to doing anything wrong.

But victory, like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder.

Attorney Peter Macuga, whose firm Macuga and Liddle represented homeowners, says he’s happy with the settlement.

“They agreed to clean up their operations, and that’s what people living there wanted,” reports Macuga.

Macuga’s firm also has a class action suit against Sybill Inc., a waste oil processing plant across the street from Peerless. People all over southwest Detroit claim stink from that plant has made their lives miserable.

We’ll keep you updated.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail cguyette@metrotimes.com

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