Settlement reached in Mayflower Exxon Mobil oil spill lawsuit

Settlement reached in Mayflower Exxon Mobil oil spill lawsuit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, a law firm with offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville, announced today that it has reached a settlement on behalf of dozens of residents and homeowners in Mayflower adversely affected by the 2013 rupture of the Exxon Mobil Pegasus Pipeline.

The pipeline rupture on March 29, 2013, caused an estimated 150,000 gallons of abrasive Canadian tar sands oil to flow through the Northwoods subdivision of Mayflower, requiring dozens of homes to be evacuated. The oil reached waters associated with Lake Conway, a popular recreational lake in Faulkner County.

The spill displaced scores of Mayflower residents and disrupted the lives of hundreds of others.

Michael Freeman lived in a neighborhood near the pipeline that dumped tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into several neighborhoods in Mayflower.

At the time, Freeman was a single father to a special needs child. He said the odor from the oil spill brought on many challenges for him and his son.

Freeman said his son already had an increased sensitivity to smells and tastes. The odor from the spill and the noise from the cleanup made the situation worse.

"Him trying to sleep at night, he couldn't sleep at night because all the racket.  You could hear all the jackhammers, the heavy equipment going on back there.  All the lights would shine up on our house and keep us awake all night long," he said.

Freeman and his son moved from Mayflower to Lonoke in December. They've started a new life and the lawsuit settlement is another step in moving forward.

"I'm just glad that it's over and done with and we can move on and hopefully everyone who was affected by it can move on," Freeman said.

The Exxon Pegasus pipeline was constructed in large part with pre-World War II materials and technology. Despite the pipeline's age, Exxon reversed the direction of flow and pumped the heavy, coarse tar sands oil through the aging pipeline. The pipeline was unable to handle the pressure of the flow, resulting in a seam rupture and subsequent spill.

In 2013, Hare Wynn attorneys Shawn Daniels and Don McKenna filed suit against Exxon Mobil Corp. in Faulkner County Circuit Court for individuals who lived in close proximity to the spill. The matter was settled prior to trial.

Exxon Mobil has already paid $5 million to settle lawsuits brought by federal and state regulators.

The statement amount has not been made public.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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