A jury in Baltimore has awarded about $150 million to nearly 300 people who sued ExxonMobil Corp. over wells contaminated by a gasoline leak north of the city. About 26,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a gas station in February 2006 in Jacksonville. Officials estimated that about 675 gallons of fuel leaked every day for 37 days before it was detected.
The jury’s verdict was in three categories: medical expenses, the devaluation of property values and emotional stress. Families were awarded amounts from $300,000 to more than $1 million based on the value of their homes. Medical expense awards ranged from $4,000 to $90,000. Families were awarded, on average, about $1 million for emotional stress. Because the jury didn’t find that ExxonMobil committed fraud, no punitive damages were awarded. In a prepared statement, ExxonMobil said:
As soon as the leak was discovered, we took immediate action and spared no expense.
According to ExxonMobil, it has spent to date more than $38 million for cleanup activities under the Maryland Department of Environment’s oversight and direction. While that may be true, there was much more that apparently should have been done.
Source: Associated Press
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