Settlement Reached in Gas Leak Suits
After a gas leak poured more than 26,000 gallons of fuel into the ground in an area near Jacksonville, Md., where the majority of homeowners get their water from wells, multiple lawsuits were filed against Exxon Mobil Corporation. A settlement was reached in January regarding those lawsuits. Fuel Leak The leak, which began in January 2006, was not discovered until five weeks after it started when a discrepancy in inventory at a gas station revealed a problem. Exxon claimed that technicians—who responded the first day the leak was reported—reset the leak detector so that it was incapable of sounding again. This led to the leak continuing for several weeks before being discovered, contaminating groundwater in the area. Original Award In June 2011, the 20 households affected were awarded $1.5 billion in damages following a jury trial, but the award was struck down by the Court of Appeals. Those who are part of this settlement are part of a larger group of homes whose case will be retried starting January 27. In addition to the first settlement and the pending trial regarding damages to the remaining homes, Exxon Mobil reached a $4 million settlement in 2008 with the Maryland Department of the Environment, and claims it spent ten times that amount in the cleanup efforts led by the department. Exxon Statements Exxon would not confirm that a settlement had been reached with some community members and continued to apologize to those who live in the Jacksonville area for the spill. The company says they intend to compensate those in the area who were truly damaged by the leak. When errors committed by large companies are suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in property damage, a liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an incident where injuries may have been caused or worsened by someone else’s error.