Faulkner County Circuit Court Judge Charles Clawson held proceedings today to select plaintiffs from consolidated cases to participate in an October 20, initial trial against ExxonMobil for damages resulting from the March 29, rupture of the Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas. The Court’s Case Management Order defines eight geographic zones. The parties randomly selected twelve families from five zones during today’s hearing. Plaintiffs will now select six families or businesses from three remaining zones.
“We are pleased with the progress in the consolidated cases,” said Shawn Daniels of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP with offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville. “The plaintiffs selected today, and the rest of our clients, deserve their day in Court to present evidence of Exxon’s egregious conduct which led to the rupture and the resulting harm caused to their families and community.”
Plaintiffs’ selections from Zones 1, 3, and 4 are due to the Court March 2, 2015. The zones follow the Wabasca Heavy Crude oil path, with Zone 1 comprised of homes on North Starlite in Northwoods subdivision where the pipeline ruptured, while Zone 3 tracks the oil from the Harp’s grocery store on Highway 89 in Mayflower to the properties bordering the east side of Dawson’s Cove on Lake Conway. Zone 4 contains properties to the south of Dawson’s Cove. The random selection zones, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8, encompass the remainder of Northwoods, neighborhoods to the north and south of Northwoods, and properties to the south and east of Dawson’s Cove.
“Plaintiffs from the eight zones show the extent of damages caused by the oil pipeline rupture,” said Tom Mickel of Brazil, Adlong & Mickel, PLC in Conway. “Exxon must do the right thing and take a hard look at the problems it caused for the citizens and businesses in each zone. The damage to property values alone is staggering.”
Only cases filed by attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP; McMath Woods P.A.; Brazil, Adlong & Mickel, PLC; Davis & Whitlock, P.C.; and Johnson & Vines, PLLC were subject to today’s hearing. Judge Clawson consolidated those cases last year. The consolidated cases involve hundreds of Mayflower residents and several businesses. Attorneys for those firms will cooperate to jointly prosecute the claims selected for the initial trial on October 20, 2015.