Friday, February 27, 2015

New Jersey Settles 9 Billion Dollar Lawsuit Against Exxon Mobil for 250 Million

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Check out this story from the New York Times about the settlement of a long-standing lawsuit brought forward by New Jersey on damages to about 3 square miles of wetlands.  The area is heavily contaminated with petroleum products and other materials.

The cost to cleanup the site is about 2.6 billion dollars and the value of the loss of the land to the public is about 6 billion.

I have been watching these types of environmental lawsuits for years and I have never seen such a low agreement in a case like this.  Even if one only looks at the cleanup costs, Exxon is off the hook for about 2.4 billion dollars---money that the taxpayers of New Jersey will have to pay to clean up the property--if it ever gets cleaned up.  If this were your personal property you would have been able to recoup the cleanup costs AND the compensatory damages for loss of use.  In this case New Jersey settled for a shockingly low amount that doesn't come close to covering the cost of the cleanup.

A judge was about to rule on the case and would have probably given New Jersey much more money in the decision.

A big question that all of us should be asking is why did New Jersey give Exxon such a sweetheart deal?

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