Preliminary order grants $5.9M in repayment to overbilled water & sewer customers

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport water and sewer customers are closer to being compensated for some of the money they overpaid in water and sewer bills for at least 10 years.

Caddo Parish District Court Judge Michael Pitman on June 29 issued a ruling granting preliminary approval of a partial settlement of $5,900,000 for overcharges on Shreveport water and sewer bills.

The hearing date to finalize the partial settlement is set for Thursday, November 12. At that hearing, every Shreveport water and sewer customer who overpaid their bills will have the opportunity to object or simply speak their piece.

The nearly $6 six million settlement comes after three years of litigation and more recent negotiations between the Harper Law Firm and attorneys for the City of Shreveport.

Jerry Harper and Anne Wilkes of the Harper Law Firm are attorneys for the ‘Class,’ which consists of every Shreveport water and sewer customer for more than 10 years which is the length of time the illegal overcharges appeared on their bills.

In October, Pitman ruled in favor of the ‘class’ and against the City of Shreveport in the lawsuit that claimed the City used a system that took the highest usage months to compute charges in the lowest usage months, violating the ordinance that determines how water and sewage should be billed.

In addition, the lawsuit claimed the city “rounded-up” any number from five and up to the next zero. For example: if 10,500 gallons were used, 11,000 gallons would be billed. It is this portion of the lawsuit that was ruled on June 29.

The $5,900,000 settlement is a partial settlement that resolves the issue of “rounding” of residential customers’ Average Winter Consumption (“AWC”) on their sewer bills, which is one of a few issues present in the class action lawsuit.

For months, Harper and Wilkes have been engaged in settlement negotiations and representation of the class members.

Within the next 30 days, Class members, who are potentially every Shreveport water and sewer customer for the approximately 10 years the over billing took place, will be mailed a notice partial settlement, along with additional information about it.

A website and toll-free phone number will be included in the notice to provide class members and the public with additional information.

The website for additional class information is scheduled to launch in early August: www.ShreveportDOWASPartialRoundingSettlement.com

The question of damages on the other parts of the class action—suit – is set to be heard in Caddo District Court on October 20, 2020.

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