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Chance v. BP Chemicals, Inc.

Supreme Court of Ohio
670 N.E.2d 985 (1996)


Rose M. Chance, Eliza Avery, and Bessie Shadwick (plaintiffs) brought suit against BP Chemicals, Inc. (BP) (defendant) arguing that BP’s disposal of hazardous waste byproducts through the use of deepwell injection technology violated the plaintiffs’ rights as property owners because of the migration of the byproducts into the subsurface rock underlying the plaintiffs’ property. BP’s disposal of byproducts complied with applicable regulations. The parties contested the location of the injection and the likely extent of the migration. The trial court directed a verdict for BP on the plaintiffs’ claims of ultrahazardous activity, fraud, and nuisance, and sent the plaintiffs’ claim of trespass to the jury. The jury returned a verdict on the trespass claim in favor of BP. The plaintiffs appealed first to the court of appeals and then to the Supreme Court of Ohio. The plaintiffs argued they had absolute ownership of all the rock and water underlying the surface of their real properties and need not prove damages to obtain a verdict in their favor on the trespass claim.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Resnick, J.)

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