Settlement approved in lawsuit against Tulsa appraisal firm

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of former residents of the old mining town of Picher against a Tulsa-based appraisal firm involved with the federal buyout of property in the area.

The Joplin Globe reports that a judge signed off on the $1.3 million settlement Thursday. The 161 plaintiffs could receive their share of the settlement before Christmas.

The former residents of Picher had alleged that their properties were intentionally undervalued by the appraisal company, Cinnabar Service Co. The company conducted appraisals for the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, which oversaw the buyout of Picher with guidance from state environmental officials.

The settlement provides $650,000 to the plaintiff’s lawyers and $650,000 to the plaintiffs. Each of the Cinnabar-appraised households could receive about $4,000, which is about $1,700 less than originally anticipated.