Abbeville families lose appeal in battle with oil company over land contamination in Intracoastal City

Abbeville families lose appeal in battle with oil company over land contamination in Intracoastal City by Vermillion Today, November 27, 2012
The Broussard family and the Vallee family from Abbeville sued M-I Drilling Fluids LLC over environmental land damage on 3.7 acres of land in Intracoastal City along the Vermilion River. The lawsuit was filed in 2005. … According to the third circuit court of appeals records, it states in the lawsuit the landowners are stating, “M-I and its predecessor corporations had conducted operations on the 3.7 acres since 1975 and during that time, had knowing, ‘willfully, wantonly and negligently’ caused the property to become contaminated with barium, production and drilling wastes and other hazardous, toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.” The plaintiffs said M-I had “intentionally disposed, dumped, buried and hid solid waste hazardous waste on the property” in the lawsuit. Both parties hired attorneys, who brought in expert environmental people to argue, prove or disprove the claims. The lower court trial in Abbeville lasted over a week. In the trial, Marcus Broussard Jr. said in court “that the lawsuit was brought to evict M-I so that the lessors could clean up the site.’ He explained that, “he was 82 years old and did not wish to leave the cleanup problem to his children and grandchildren,” court records state.

In the court records, Broussard said in the lower trial that “M-I failed to maintain the property’s cosmetic appearance as required by the lease; that the property was being used for business activity not authorized by the lease and that M-I had made altercations to the property without first obtaining written permission as required by the lease.” Court records state that the plaintiffs wanted the lease dissolved, they did not want M-I to pay the cost of restoration and they would assume the responsibility for that activity themselves,” court records said. The third circuit court of appeals stated: “ the jury (in the lower court) could conclude that M-I’s failure to act as a reasonably prudent operator under the circumstances caused the plaintiffs no damage. In fact, Mr. Broussard testified that the plaintiffs had yet to suffer any damages as of the time of trial, and their principal concern involved what might happen at the end of the lease if M-I did not live up to its contractual obligations.”

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