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Settlement reached in dam-breaking case

LAMAR COUNTY — A $1.1-million settlement has been reached in the lawsuit stemming from the 2004 collapse of Big Bay Lake Dam.

The Hattiesburg American reports the settlement was reached March 25 after a two-hour conference between the attorneys for 123 plaintiffs and those representing Land Partners Limited Partnership and Big Bay Lake Inc.

Officials said $1.1 million will be divided among the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs, whose property was damaged or destroyed when the dam broke on March 12, 2004, will not get equal shares of the money. Rather, their attorneys will determine how the money will be divided up based on the amount of damage they received.

The trial, which began March 22, was moved to Harrison County Circuit Court because of pretrial news coverage in Lamar County.

William Ducker, one of four lawyers involved in the plaintiffs’ suit, offered a simple explanation for why a settlement hadn’t been reached earlier.

“It wasn’t on the table before (March 25),” Ducker said. “Have you ever heard of doing what’s expedient?”

Robert Hammond Jr., lead defense lawyer, said he was pleased an agreement was reached.

“For everybody’s sake, I’m just glad it’s resolved,” he said.

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