More than 10,000 sewer customers in Kernersville will receive $12.3 million in refunds and interest for excess charges they paid from 2012-2016, plaintiffs’ attorneys have reported.
According to a media release by those attorneys, the town of Kernersville and the City/County Utilities Commission overcharged customers by failing to follow a 2011 agreement requiring Kernersville sewer rates to be reduced June 30, 2012.
Defendants contested the merits of the case, but agreed to mediation after Superior Court Judge Edwin Wilson Jr. found them liable for the overcharges, the statement said. The settlement, agreed to in March, was unanimously approved by the Kernersville Board of Alderman and the utilities commission.
One of the plaintiff’s attorneys, H. Brent Helms of Robinson & Lawing in Winston-Salem, called the settlement a “really good result” for a group of plaintiffs who have been concerned with their sewer bills for years.
“Once the court ruled that the defendants had overcharged the sewer users, I think Kernersville
and the CCUC saw that it was in the public’s best interest to settle the lawsuit and refund the overcharges,” Helms wrote in a statement.
According to the media release, class members should receive a full refund of their excess sewer charges, plus approximately 9 percent interest. More than 75 percent of those, attorneys say, will receive payments between $100 and $2,000. The mailing of payments will begin in September and most should be received this year.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT — BREACH OF CONTRACT/LAW OF THE LAND VIOLATION
Amount: $12.3 million
Case name: Fasano v. Town of Kernersville and the Winston-Salem – Forsyth County City/County Utilities Commission
Case No.: 16 CVS 2801
Court: Forsyth County Superior Court
Mediator: Jonathan Harkavay
Date of settlement: July 27
Attorneys for plaintiff: H. Brent Helms and Scott Templeton of Robinson & Lawing in Winston-Salem, and Alan Duncan and Stephen Russell Jr. of Mullins Duncan Harrell & Russell in Greensboro
Attorneys for defendant: John Wolfe III of Kernersville and Jodi Hildebran of Allman Spry Davis Leggett & Crumpler in Winston-Salem