Warrnambool's Maddens Lawyers have received a $725,000 payday after claiming almost two-thirds of the SKM's Coolaroo recycling plant fire class action settlement.
More than 200 members of the Maddens class action will now share in the $475,000 of the $1.2 million SKM has been ordered to pay - an average of just over $2000 each.
Maddens will get $725,000 of the $1.2 million, just under two-thirds of the payout.
Maddens has been contacted for comment after the ruling in the class action was released on Monday.
The class action members were forced to flee their homes and businesses shut down when SKM's Coolaroo recycling plant went up in flames and burnt for several days during July 2017.
Potentially toxic smoke covered Coolaroo and Dallas in Melbourne's north.
Class action lead plaintiff Castor Murillo, who was forced to sleep in his family's car with his pregnant wife and four children for two nights, was awarded $5000 by Supreme Court Justice John Dixon.
Justice Dixon wrote, Mr Murillo was also forced to spend "many hours of physically cleaning the discomforting effect of the emissions from his home".
His payout was for costs including replacing furnishings, accommodation and medical bills.
Other class action members will get similar small payments for ruined clothing and damaged furnishings that Justice Dixon said had been "effectively destroyed by the emissions because of the smell taint".
Justice Dixon said the fire came after a series of smaller fires in 2017 at the Coolaroo plant which made a large blaze clearly foreseeable.
The SKM group, which previously had contracts to process waste for around 30 Victorian councils, has been at the centre of a recycling crisis in the state.
In July, it abruptly told councils it would not accept recycling, forcing most to send their waste to landfill.
After being placed into receivership in August, SKM is now for sale and has begun taking waste again for Melbourne, Moonee Valley, Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Port Phillip, Hume and Nillumbik councils.
It has been reported there is some interest in buying the recyclers.
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