By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Jacksonville families burst into cheers when the Exxon verdicts were announced Thursday night.  Mike Schuh has exclusive details on the record damages awarded.

The jury says Exxon took a 26,000 gallon leak and, by committing fraud, turned it into what exclusive sources say is a record $1.5 billion judgment.

“This is the way the system should work and it worked,” said attorney Ted Flerlage.

These dream homes in Jacksonville are worthless and no one’s confident their wells aren’t filled with poison.

“They saw the facts.  There was substantial evidence supporting these verdicts and we’re confident they’ll be upheld,” Flerlage said.

Perhaps no one was more relieved than the jurors, who spent half a year in court.  The judge choked up when he thanked them.

“Just a kind, caring group of people from all walks of life and several teachers,” said one of the jurors, identified only as Ellen.

Cheers broke out at the end of the trial.  The only long faces were from those trying to defend what the jury says Exxon did.

“We believe that result is not supported by the facts overall,” said James Sanders, Exxon’s lead attorney.

Glad they won, those who sued say their losses are ever-present.  They still can only take two-minute showers, they drink bottled water and worry about their kids getting cancer.

“But I want to know when I’m old that I have to look at my child and know because she lived in our dream home, this happened,” said Susie Lazzaro.  “I’m very glad this is over.”

At this point, most defendants won’t talk about an appeal but with such big dollar figures here, Exxon has already said they’ll appeal.

So far, the awards range from $300,000 to $60 million.  The $60 million went to a bison rancher who lost his entire herd after the leak.

Comments (4)
  1. doodad says:

    we live in the immediate area of the spill and feel that this award is a miscarriage of justice. Yes, Exxon was negligent but several billion dollars? How much pain and suffering was actually had. I see these people every day in my neighborhood and they look fine and carry on as if nothing has happened. Look to the people that live in many parts of the world other than ours for examples of true suffering. Most of the people that are getting money have NOTHING wrong with their wells. This was just a free for all because Exxon has deep pockets. Was the jury made aware that the plaintifs were advised to seek psychaitric evaluations by their attorneys? Is this not manufacturing evidence that can only be used to win more money? It is disgusting. If Exxon is giving them all this money for their property, they should get to keep it and the people should have to leave.

  2. chubrock says:

    Wow $7500000 per person or buisness in this law suit after the lawyers take 40%. When a law suit is this big, the jury should be allowed to add more money to it, sorry. They were suing for 495 million already and they jury added a billion to it like who cares its not our money. No wonder our country is in the toilet, all these sue happy people. Nobody wants to work for a living anymore, its easier just to sue and not have to work. American pride is gone, and then they complain about illegals that are doing jobs we don’t want to do. Greed is a dangerous thing, and what goes around comes around.

  3. Pete says:

    MD will never see a penny of thisaward Exxon will keep it in appeals court forever

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