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Homeowners vs. Wyoming in Mediation, Attorney General Says

Tuesday, January, 24, 2012

In Wyoming, a long standing dispute over whether or not homes in Rock Springs were destroyed by a mine subsidence program has entered mediation proceedings, Attorney General Greg Phillips announced. Former Governor Mike Sullivan is the mediation attorney overseeing the proceedings. Already, several of the homeowners have settled their complaints, but several more homeowners are not as yet satisfied.


The Reason Behind the Mediation Program


In 2007, the Wyoming Abandoned Mine Land Division performed “dynamic compaction” near downtown Rock Springs to collapse unused mine shafts in order to build affordable housing above them. According to the homeowners, this activity damaged their homes; cracking walls and driveways, opening sinkholes and damaging underground natural gas pipes.


Originally, Wyoming offered the families offered a few thousand dollars in compensation, but several of them were not satisfied and began filing suit in 2010. Collectively, they have been seeking around $6 million in damages.


The Benefit of Sullivan Providing Mediation Services


According to Attorney General Phillips, having Governor Sullivan mediate the dispute has been incredibly helpful. He cites Gov. Sullivan's exceptional career as a lawyer, and his demonstrated years of integrity. This could effectively defuse an air of mistrust between the state and the homeowners.


The tone among the homeowners is somewhat mixed, but the tendency is a willingness to settle for a fair award. On one hand, some have stated that they would settle for less than they have been seeking, whereas others are more set in what they believe is fair. The overall hope is that with Gov. Sullivan as the mediation attorney, agreeable arrangements will come quickly.