PICHER - An Oklahoma City lawyer who specializes in insurance class- action lawsuits attended a Tar Creek buyout meeting Tuesday night.
Jeff Marr did not address the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust. Earlier this month, though, he met with residents at a Picher town hall meeting to discuss a potential class-action lawsuit.
"I'm just here to assess the situation," Marr said of why he was at Tuesday's meeting.
Marr said he plans to file a lawsuit soon and request that it be made a class-action case.
Marr represented victims in a class-action lawsuit after a tornado hit Moore in May 1999. One plaintiff was awarded $13 million from an insurance company, he said.
Two groups could be part of a potential Tar Creek class-action lawsuit, he said.
The first group is those who have issues concerning their buyout offers from the trust.
"I am offended by what has been offered," Marr said of the trust's buyout offers to Picher residents. "The offers were not reasonable, and I question the motivation behind them."
Trust officials previously said the buyout offers are higher than those in an earlier buyout.
The state is overseeing the trust, which was funded with federal money after a 2006 report showed that the ground under hundreds of homes, businesses and churches in the Picher, Cardin and Hockerville area could cave in.
The second group is individuals who were covered by insurance when their homes were destroyed in a May 2008 tornado. Homeowners who were part of the buyout were required either to sign over their insurance checks to the trust or keep the insurance money and opt out of the buyout, officials said previously.
Federal and state damage assessment teams said 114 homes were destroyed by the tornado and that 30 more had major damage.
During Tuesday's meeting, the board approved the renewal of a contract with real estate appraisers Van Tuyl & Associates of Tulsa.
The trust decided to recheck the facts on eight properties before making offers to those homeowners, said Mark Osborn, the trust's chairman.