Feb 26 Exxon Mobil Corp has won the
reversal by Maryland's highest court of a $1 billion punitive
damages award stemming from an underground leak at a gas
station, and also won the reversal of portions of nearly $650
million of compensatory damages awards.
The Maryland Court of Appeals said in a ruling on Tuesday
Exxon's "shortcomings" in remediation efforts did not rise to
the level of fraud, removing the basis for the punitive damages
Some compensatory damages were reversed because the
plaintiffs failed to show the spill reduced property values
permanently, the court said.
"We are reviewing the court's decision," a spokesman for
Exxon said in an email. "The evidence showed that we acted
appropriately after the accident and the court has agreed."
Exxon has apologized to the affected community and will
continue the cleanup, the company said.
The case arose from the leak of about 26,000 gallons of
gasoline from beneath a fueling station in Jacksonville,
Exxon reported the leak on Feb. 17, 2006, but the leak had
its origins five weeks earlier from a drilling puncture caused
unknowingly by a contractor, the Court of Appeals said.
Several hundred residents and businesses sued Exxon,
alleging damages from contamination of their water supply and a
variety of misrepresentations by the oil company.
A Maryland jury awarded the damages in 2011. At the time,
Exxon said it spent $46 million on the spill's cleanup and had
been fined $4 million by the state.
The case is Allison, Et Al Vs Exxonmobil Corp, Et Al,
Circuit Court for Baltimore County - Civil System, No.