Environmental and personal injury lawyers with a Little Rock firm filed seven lawsuits in Faulkner County Tuesday representing 84 plaintiffs suing ExxonMobil.
Plaintiffs in the cases are divided into seven suits based on their locations and post-spill experiences, according to counselors from McMath Woods P. A.
Suits include two groups who lived on North Starlite Road in Northwoods, where Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured March 29, who have not returned to their homes, and two groups whose homes in Northwoods were not evacuated.
Also being represented, according to McMath Woods, are groups whose homes are near the pipeline in Mayflower and groups who live on or near the Cove that was impacted by the spill.
Plaintiffs in the suits allege property damage, exposure to noxious fumes and disruption of their lives as a result of the heavy crude spill.
Counselors say the spill exposed Mayflower residents to Wabasca Heavy Crude, a diluted bitumen produced in Canada that “contains toxic substances such as hydrogen sulfide, aromatic hydrocarbons, napthalenes, and benzene.”
Sam Ledbetter, attorney for some of the plaintiffs, said Exxon has not taken responsibility for damage done to the environment, land owners and residents in Mayflower.
“What we do know is that the spill significantly disrupted the plaintiffs’ lives, their land has been devalued, and the places they call home have changed forever,” Ledbetter said in a statement from McMath Woods.
The firm claims negligence on Exxon’s part, citing studies and warnings about safety hazards when using electric resistance welded pipe, which was the method used to manufacture the Pegasus pipeline that runs through Mayflower.
State and federal officials in another lawsuit against Exxon were granted a stay in proceedings last week due to the government shutdown.
A class-action lawsuit against the company was filed in April, and 64 more Mayflower residents and property owners filed this month.