Covering Louisiana

Jun 26, 2013 3:14 PM by AP

Deadline for sinkhole buyout talks extended

BAYOU CORNE, La. (AP) - Nearly half of the eligible residents and families directly affected by a sinkhole induced by a Texas Brine Co. salt dome failure last summer have agreed to company buyouts, while the rest have more than a month to complete negotiations.

The Advocate reports Texas Brine faced a Monday court-imposed deadline to settle with residents who had not sued the company. Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch says U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey on Tuesday extended that deadline until July 31.

Branch says the company had been negotiating settlements with 103 property owners. He says there were legitimate settlement talks with 92 of them, including 44 who accepted buyouts. Cranch says 41 other property owners say they want to continue direct negotiations, and will get that chance with Zainey's ruling.

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