Superior Court Judge Jerrold S. Oliver on Thursday approved a $40,000 settlement between grading contractor C. W. Poss and some of the 141 families involved in the tangled McColl dump case.
But no other settlements were reached Thursday despite intensive negotiations between attorneys for 141 families living around the dump and lawyers for the City of Fullerton and developers, authorities said.
Meanwhile, the March 10 trial in the complex civil suit is expected to be delayed until at least early April while motions in the case are on appeal, said Jeffrey A. Matz of Encino, attorney for most of the families.
The residents contend that government officials and businesses connected with their housing tracts should have warned them about the dangers of living near the abandoned dump, a repository for World War II aviation fuel waste. They have claimed that their health has been endangered and property values undercut.
Plans to clean up the dump site once considered the No. 1 environmental hazard in California have been on hold since last May, while the state performs a court-ordered environmental impact report on the project. That issue, sparked by opposition in other counties to receiving the McColl waste, is unrelated to the civil case expected to take two years in trial.
With the pressure on to reach an agreement in the case rather than tie up the court and attorneys for such a lengthy trial, most of the defendants have reached settlements with the plaintiffs.
Seven oil companies, Orange County, the State of California and numerous smaller defendants have agreed to settlements totaling $3.1 million, Matz said Thursday.
Defendants remaining in the suit include developers J. F. Shea Co., William Lyon Co. and Fullerton Hills Land Development Co., which was a venture between Lyon and Chevron Oil.
No new date for a mandatory settlement conference was set. But Judge Oliver told parties for both sides to contact him when they feel meaningful negotiations can take place.