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State v. Exxon Mobil Corporation
New Hampshire Supreme Court
126 A.3d 266 (2015)
New Hampshire (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit in state court against Exxon Mobil Corporation (Exxon) (defendant) and other gasoline companies whose products were sold in the state (collectively, the companies) (defendants), alleging that the companies added methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) to their gasoline, contaminating groundwater throughout the state. Because New Hampshire could not trace the contaminating gasoline to a specific company, it argued that the companies should be held liable under a market-share liability theory according to their market share of gasoline containing MTBE. A jury found the companies liable and awarded New Hampshire $800 million in damages. The trial court allowed damages to be divided among the companies using market-share liability. Exxon held around 30 percent of the gasoline market in New Hampshire and was therefore liable for approximately $230 million. Exxon appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Dalianis, C.J.)
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