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A Conway law firm filed suit today against ExxonMobil on behalf of 64 Faulkner County residents affected by the Mayflower oil spill.
The suit, filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court, in conjunction with an Asheville, N.C., firm, alleges, among other things, that ExxonMobil was negligent in failing to inspect or maintain the Pegasus pipeline that burst in March.
Attorney Thomas Mickel of local firm Brazil, Adlong and Mickel, said his firm’s clients "became frustrated with ExxonMobil’s slow response to their claims. Filing suit is the only way our clients can protect their rights."
The lawsuit provides several theories of recovery for the 64 plaintiffs, who claim damages to their health and property from various effects of the spill, ranging from inconvenience, travel delays, noxious and harmful fumes, ongoing noise associated with equipment used in the cleanup operations, and decreased property values because of association with the notorious oil spill.
If successful, the suit would be the first time Arkansas courts award damages to property based on the "stigma" of a property’s association with a notorious event, even though no physical harm may have directly come to the property.
Many Mayflower residents represented in the suit claim that the value of their homes and/or properties have been irreparably damaged due to its proximity to and association with the oil spill, which drew the attention of national and world press to Mayflower and the southern Lake Conway area.
The Brazil, Adlong and Mickel firm is working with Asheville, N.C. based Davis and Whitlock, P.C., a firm emphasizing environmental law.
The lawsuit joins two other State suits filed in relation to the oil spill and a Federal court suit also filed by Brazil, Adlong and Mickel.