Families Affected by Exxon Petroleum Spill Settle
After years of litigation, in late February, 43 Jacksonville families agreed to settle their damage claims after a serious gasoline spill affected household wells.
In 2006, a mishap with a drill at a gas station caused a leak in a pressurized line carrying unleaded petroleum. A contractor retained by Exxon to check on the leak concluded it was a false alarm. When checking the line, the contractor reset a surveillance system, causing gasoline to leak undetected for another 37 days, ultimately spilling more than 26,000 gallons of fuel.
By the time the spill was addressed, petroleum products were detected in numerous household wells in the area.
As a result of the spill, families affected by the contamination sued Exxon. In a 2009 case, a group of families was awarded $150 million. In 2011, after a six-month jury trial, another group of families was awarded $1.5 billion in a verdict that included $1 billion in punitive damages against Exxon for fraud.
Just over a year ago, the Court of Appeals of Maryland reversed the decisions and remanded some of the cases to court for reasons that included:
- The appeals court rejected claims of fraud.
- Plaintiffs did not show they had been injured by exposure.
- Plaintiffs did not make an effective case for medical monitoring under the law.
While 43 families have opted to confidentially settle their claims against Exxon, there remain approximately 50 families with cases set to go to trial in coming months. Exxon continues to remediate the site and monitor groundwater contamination in the area.
Toxic spills and exposure continue to make headlines across the United States. If injured through the negligence of others in Maryland, talk to an experienced attorney about your case.