Updated March 15, 2013: Former Picher residents are taking on an appraisal company they say undervalued their homes in a $40 million federal buyout. Now, they are taking on the appraiser as one.
The former residents of the mining towns of Picher, Carding and Hockerville were offered buyouts after studies by the EPA declared their land to be lead contaminated and likely to cave in from over-mining.
A judge has now combined the 252 individual claims into a single class action suit.
Posted March 6, 2013: Former residents of Picher, Oklahoma are back in court seeking more money for homes the government bought out back in 2009.
The former Picher property owners have alleged that they received unfair, undervalued appraisals and are seeking what they call fair compensation for their homes.
The former residents of the mining towns of Picher, Carding and Hockerville were offered buyouts from the Lead Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust.
Hundreds of properties were involved in the $40 million buyout after studies by the EPA declared the area lead contaminated and likely to cave in from over-mining.
The most recent hearing was held in Tulsa County on Friday to review the lawsuit filed by over 200 former Picher residents to decide if the suit should be combined into a class action suit.
"We felt that we weren't treated right, we weren't given the right amount of money for our home," says former Picher resident Amy Couzan. "We had a family and I wanted my children to inherent the best of everything and if it was worth $180,000 to $200,000 I think they should have paid us for it."
Couzan says she was given $40,000 under what her home was appraised.
But appraisal companies defend the buyout offers.
The judge says she will issue a decision on the hearing sometime soon.