Exxon Mobil Corp. v. State of New Hampshire
- Case Date: 2/22/2016
- Project Name: Civil Justice Reform
On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order declining to review a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision that upheld massive liability against an oil refiner for having (at the direction of federal environmental officials) added MTBE to its gasoline. The decision was a setback for WLF, which filed a brief urging review. MTBE is a chemical that reduces the level of pollution emitted by a car’s exhaust, but it also can contaminate groundwater if accidentally spilled from storage facilities. WLF argued that state tort judgments of this sort conflict with federal law and thus are preempted. WLF also urged the Court to consider whether New Hampshire violated Exxon’s due process rights by conducting a “trial by formula” that prevented Exxon from raising individualized defenses to allegations that its conduct caused the contamination of groundwater throughout the State. WLF noted that the Court has already prohibited federal courts from adopting the trial-by-formula approach.
More Information and Downloads:
2/22/2016: Download the Brief