Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Business Week has the details. The plaintiffs (nineteen among thousands of people with related claims) are former pipe workers and they allege that Exxon knew as early as the 1930s that their drilling pipes were contaminated but didn't inform regulatory agencies until 1988.
Exxon asserts that it did nothing wrong and contends that the radiation levels that were there are insufficient to cause harm. The story suggests that the plaintiffs are seeking medical monitoring and punitive damages -- it makes no reference of any current injuries. Three workers who do have cancer settled prior to trial; none of the current plaintiffs have cancer.
The owners of the property where the plaintiffs worked obtained a $1 billion punitive damages award against Exxon in 2001; that amount was reduced to $112 million and paid. In those appeals, a Louisiana appeals court called Exxon's conduct "inexcusable."