WILLITS (AP) — An appeals court has revived a class-action lawsuit for 160 residents of a Mendocino County town who claim an industrial plant’s pollution severely sickened them.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a trial judge was wrong to dismiss the case on grounds that the statute of limitations had expired.

About 100 residents of Willits initially filed a lawsuit in 1999 alleging that Remco Hydraulics Inc.’s chemical disposals made them ill.

The lawsuit ultimately included more than 1,000 residents, many of whom settled with the company. But hundreds more rejected the settlement.

A trial judge had tossed out the entire lawsuit by 2009. But the appeals court reinstated it for some of those residents, saying that joining the lawsuit in 2000 was not too late.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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