Nagel Rice Wins Major Legal Victory in Environmental Lawsuit Against Exxon
On January 22, 2009, a New Jersey Superior Court judge denied ExxonMobil’s motion to dismiss the State of New Jersey’s claims for natural resource damages caused by spills which occurred at two of its former oil refinery sites in New Jersey prior to 1977. This groundbreaking decision allows the claims against ExxonMobil for the restoration of natural resources and compensation for their lost use to continue.
Nagel Rice, LLP was appointed by the State of New Jersey to serve as Special Counsel to the Attorney General in 2004 to bring claims against polluters for the damage and destruction of the public’s natural resources. Natural resource damages include both primary restoration – the return of natural resources to the condition they were in before the discharge – and compensatory restoration – compensation for the loss of use of the resource between the time of the discharge and restoration or replacement of the resource.
If ExxonMobil had prevailed, the State’s claims would have been limited to restoring and compensating the public for only those resources damaged after 1977. This major legal victory allows the State to seek restoration and compensation going back to 1877 when the former ExxonMobil oil refinery began operating in Bayonne, and going back to 1908 at the Bayway facility in Linden.
Earlier in this action, Nagel Rice, along with special co-counsel and the Attorney General, made law in a landmark decision of New Jersey’s Appellate Division, which ruled that the State’s restoration claims under the Spill Compensation and Control Act included loss of use damages, in addition to the physical restoration of damaged or destroyed natural resources. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, 393 N.J. Super. 388 (App. Div. 2007). This case is being handled by Bruce Nagel and Wayne Greenstone.