Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More lawsuits over ExxonMobil pipeline break

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Seven more lawsuits were filed today in Faulkner Circuit Court against ExxonMobil defendants over damages caused by the ruptured Pegasus pipeline that drenched a Mayflower subdivision and part of Lake Conway with heavy Canadian tar sands laced with other dangerous chemicals.

The suits represent groups of plaintiffs from peope who evacuated homes; from some not evacuated; from people who lived near the pipeline, and from people near the lake. All alleged property damage, exposure to noxious fumes and disruption of their lives. The suit said Exxon has known for 25 years about problems with pipe used in the line.

The release from the McMath Law Firm follows:

Residents of Mayflower, Arkansas filed suit today in Faulkner County Circuit Court against ExxonMobil. The seven suits against multiple ExxonMobil defendants seek damages resulting from the March 29, 2013, rupture of the Pegasus Pipeline in the Northwoods subdivision of Mayflower.

Plaintiffs in the cases are grouped by location and their post-spill experiences. The suits include two groups of plaintiffs who lived on North Starlite Road in the Northwoods subdivision that have not returned to their homes since the spill, two groups whose homes in the Northwoods subdivision were not evacuated, one group who lives near the pipeline in Mayflower, and two groups who live on or near the Lake Conway cove impacted by the spill. Each plaintiff alleges property damage, exposure to noxious fumes, and disruption of their lives as a result of the spill.

The spill exposed the residents of Mayflower to Wabasca Heavy Crude Oil, a type of diluted bitumen produced in Canada. Wabasca Heavy Crude contains toxic substances such as hydrogen sulfide, aromatic hydrocarbons, napthalenes, and benzene. Acute exposure results in symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and coughing.

“Exxon has not yet taken responsibility for the damage done to the environment, land owners, and residents of Mayflower,” said Sam Ledbetter, attorney for the plaintiffs. “What we do know is that the spill significantly disrupted the plaintiffs’ lives, their land has been devalued, and the places they call home have changed forever.”

The suits allege ExxonMobil knew in 1988 or before of the inherent manufacturing deficiencies of the electronic resistance welded pipe used in the construction of the Pegasus Pipeline. The United States Department of Transportation issued warnings to the pipeline industry in 1988 and 1989 detailing its safety concerns with electronic resistance welded pipe. Hurst Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Inc. confirmed, in a study ordered by the Department of Transportation, that such manufacturing defects contributed to the March 29th spill.

Counsel for the plaintiffs include Bruce McMath, Sam Ledbetter, Will Bond, and Ross Noland of McMath Woods P.A. in Little Rock, Arkansas. McMath Woods P.A. is an environmental and personal injury law firm which has represented clients since 1953.


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