LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- So many questions have come from Mayflower resident about their legal rights. and they are looking for answers.
Two law firms teamed up to help answer those questions at a community meeting in Maumelle Friday night. It was a meeting born from several phone calls and emails from concerned Mayflower residents to Little Rock Law Firm, Johnson and Vines.
After years of experience will big corporations, including Exxon and BP, Hare Whynn Newell and Newton based in Alabama with offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville decided to lend their hand as well.
"It's been horrible, tough," said Valerie Andrews Tuesday night at a private residents meeting hosted by Exxon.
She and her husband Warren came to Exxon's meeting optimistic, hoping officials would bring good news. The Andrews' live on Starlite Drive just a few houses down from the spill. They rushed home from work on Friday to find police officers blocking the street to their home.
Valerie's mother, disabled and suffering from dementia, lives with them. After the spill, Valerie was forced to move her mother in with her sister and move into a hotel room with her husband and two teenage daughters. Exxon told them this morning it could be at least one more week before they could go home.
"They're trying to be helpful to a certain extent, they are. They are doing what they have to do but as far as long term, property values, I truly believe they are gone," said Warren Andrews.
Friday, the Andrews decided it was time to take a look at their legal options. Even after the cleanup, what will their property value be? What paperwork do they need? What compensation should they accept from Exxon? Even if the company does pay for their hotel, the clean up and their expenses, what about their stress? The long term affects to their health and their property? These are all questions they were looking for answers to when they met with attorneys from Johnson and Vines and Hare Wynn Newell & Newton.
"This same substance, this oil that spilled in yall's backyards was spilled in Michigan three years ago and they are still cleaning it up," explained attorney Shawn Daniels to the room of more than two dozen.
Hare Wynn Newell and Newton have faced Exxon in court before along with BP after the gulf coast oil spill in 2010. They along with Little Rock firm Johnson and Vines offered their advice to Mayflower residents Friday night.
"It would be unrealistic at this point to say we know what all the answers are but as we are helping these folks navigate this process, we just want to give them some questions to ask and some things to look out for," said Andrew Vines with Johnson and Vines.
For the Andrews, getting their home, their lives and their routines back is the first step. As for the rest, they will take it as it comes.
"You don't know the right steps. Like I said, it's a big corporation and we're just little people but in this neighborhood, that's our lives," says Warren Andrews.
The main thing Johnson advised residents to do is not be in a hurry. Take their time filing their claims, understand their rights and don't be afraid to retain an attorney. Johnson and Vines along with Hare Wyne Newell and Newton plan to host another meeting next Monday at 6 pm, once again at the Hampton Inn in Maumelle.
Johnson & Vines, PLLC, is a general practice law firm located in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is working with Hare Wynn Newell & Newton in representing persons damaged as a result of the Mayflower Oil Spill. In its second century of representing plaintiffs, Hare Wynn Newell & Newton has offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is an established leader in the plaintiff's bar.
The entirety of its professional and fiscal resources is dedicated to the plaintiff's practice. Numerous national organizations, publications and their peers have consistently recognized its lawyers as being among the most successful and experienced courtroom lawyers in the country. The National Law Journal judged Hare Wynn Newell & Newton to be "at the cutting edge of plaintiffs' work."