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Jury orders Exxon to pay $495M in gas leak

Thursday - 6/30/2011, 9:59am  ET

BALTIMORE (AP) - A Baltimore County jury has ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay more than $495 million to compensate a group of Jacksonville families affected by a 2006 underground gasoline leak, and that amount could grow.

The Circuit Court jury is scheduled to deliberate Thursday on an amount to award in punitive damages. A lawyer for the 160 families and businesses affected by the leak, Charles G. Bernstein, urged the jury to award punitive damages of three to five times the sum they awarded in compensatory damages.

The leak in 2006 spilled about 26,000 gallons of gasoline into the groundwater in Jacksonville, which has no public water or sewer service and depends on private wells for drinking water. Exxon's lawyers say the company has spent $46 million on cleanup.

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