Nolan v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

2015 WL 2338336 (2015)

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Nolan v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
2015 WL 2338336 (2015)

Facts

Residents (residents) (plaintiffs) living near a refinery plant operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. (Exxon) (defendant) sued Exxon and associated entities for failure to meet regulatory standards that resulted in dozens of chemical leaks, including a naptha leak, an HCI release, and a sulfur dioxide leak within a 12-month period. The residents sought damages for nuisance, odors, and various corresponding physical respiratory symptoms they suffered in varying degrees, as well as loss of property enjoyment. The residents moved to be certified as a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), with the proposed class composed of all individuals living within a defined geographic area near the plant for any length of time between June 2012 and the present. In their motion to certify the class, the residents asserted that all class members shared the common question of causation and fault, but the residents acknowledged that the issues of damages would require individual analysis. Accordingly, the residents proposed a bifurcated trial wherein the issues of causation and liability would be tried as a class action first, and if the court assigned liability to Exxon, the issue of damages would be handled on a more individual basis. Exxon filed its opposition to class certification.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brady, J.)

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