April 8, 2013 — One week after an oil pipeline burst and caused an oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, two residents have filed a class action lawsuit against ExxonMobil. The plaintiffs, Kathryn Chunn and Kimla Greene, are seeking class action status for property owners within 3,000 feet of the pipeline. The allege this is “the worst spill in Arkansas history” and their property is “at risk for permanent damage.” They are seeking more than $5 million in compensation, punitive damages, and justice against Exxon.
The class action lawsuit has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Brian Miller and Magistrate Jerome Kearney. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has also given Exxon a deadline of April 10 to comply with a subpoena requesting inspection reports on the pipeline, investigative reports, and other information relevant to the oil spill in Mayflower.
According to the class action lawsuit complaint, the part of the pipeline that ruptured was “in an unsafe, defective and deficient condition presenting an immediate environmental harm.” Furthermore, “The Pegasus Pipeline running throughout the state of Arkansas is most likely to be similarly situated and maintained.”
Exxon has faced growing concern about the safety of the pipeline, which was built in 1947 and 1948 and designed for thinner, higher-grade oil. The lawsuit states that in 2009, Exxon increased the pipeline’s capacity by 50% — or 30,000 barrels per day. They also started using it to carry diluted bitumen from Canada’s tar sands in Alberta. The thick, black, sticky crude oil requires very high pressure to pump over long distances and is highly corrosive on pipelines.
The lawsuit alleges that the increased oil capacity weakened and stressed the pipeline, which made a catastrophic break “inevitable.” On March 29, 19,000 barrels of oil were spilled into the streets of the North Woods subdivision in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas and into a tributary to Lake Conway.
“The property owners in Arkansas along the Pegasus Pipeline have decreased real property damage because their property is located in close proximity to an unsafe and defective pipeline, which has caused the worst oil spill in Arkansas history contaminating soil, impacting neighborhoods, forcing evacuation, migrating into surface and underground water sources and impacting air quality.”
Exxon officials have stated that the pipe inspections were up-to-date. The part of the pipeline that broke was inspected just two months ago, in February, and again in 2010.
Do I have an Exxon Oil Spill Lawsuit in Arkansas?
Free Case Evaluation: If you have been the victim of the Exxon oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, you should contact our law firm immediately. We are currently investigating the potential in filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of homeowners who have been adversely affected by this disaster. Your contact information and what we discuss is completely confidential. We look forward to hearing from you.
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