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Firm to pay $3 million in lawsuit

Settlement ends litigation over stump dump fire by Tracy Neal | June 6, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

BENTONVILLE — A judge accepted a $3 million settlement that ends a lawsuit over the stump dump fire in Bella Vista.

Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren presided over a short hearing May 28 involving the lawsuit Michael and Amie Armstrong filed against former board members of the Bella Vista Property Owners Association.

The Armstrongs are association members and filed the lawsuit in December 2019.

The lawsuit argues the former board members were aware the association was using the site as an unmonitored dump and didn’t take any action to stop the dumping of prohibited items for a fee from January 2004 to December 2016.

The lawsuit was not seeking any money from the association but was filed to make the insurance company provide the coverage according to its policy.

Jason Wales, one of the attorneys for the Armstrongs, told the judge the company — Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance — reached a set tlement and agreed to pay $2 million to the association and $1 million in attorney fees.

The association is not pay ing any money in the settle ment.

The judge accepted the settlement agreement and dismissed the lawsuit.

Wales and Michael Arm strong declined to comment on the settlement.

Tom Judson, the associa tion’s general manager, said the association was not a par ty to the negotiations of the settlement agreement and the association did not oppose the proposed settlement at Friday’s hearing.

An underground fire burned at the Trafalgar Road site for almost a year before the association hired firms to put it out. City firefighters discovered the fire on July 29 2018.

Kim Carlson with the as sociation previously said the cost to put out and remedi ate the site is estimated at $4 million.

Tracy M. Neal can be reached by email at [email protected] or Twitter @NWATracy.

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