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20 Baltimore County Households Settle Lawsuit Over Exxon Gas Station Leak

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JACKSONVILLE, Md. (AP) — About 20 households affected by a leak at a Jacksonville gas station in 2006 have settled their lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Daily Record of Baltimore reports the households were scheduled to have their cases retried beginning Monday in Baltimore County Circuit Court. The plaintiff’s lead lawyer, Theodore M. Flerlage Jr., says terms of the settlements are confidential.

The leak poured more than 26,000 gallons of fuel into the ground in an area where many residents get their water from wells. The leak from underground tanks began in January 2006 and wasn’t discovered until five weeks later, when a discrepancy in inventory was noticed. Exxon has maintained that technicians responding to an alarm on the first day improperly reset the detector that first day, rendering it incapable of sounding again.

The spill led to multiple lawsuits brought by Jacksonville residents. The households are part of one larger group that was awarded more than $1.5 billion in damages in June 2011 following a jury trial, but the award was struck down by the Court of Appeals. The remaining plaintiffs in this group are to have their cases retried starting Jan. 27.

An Exxon spokesman would not confirm the settlements.

“We have apologized to the Jacksonville community and we remain ready to compensate those who were truly damaged by this unfortunate accident,” the company said in a statement.

Exxon reached a $4 million settlement with the Maryland Department of the Environment in 2008 and says it spent 10 times that amount on its cleanup effort under the department’s direction.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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