Andrew Vines of Johnson & Vines, PLLC has some advice for home owners affected by the Mayflower Oil Spill.
The Arkansas Times reported on a press conference held by Exxon Mobile at the Mayflower City Hall on April 11, 2013. At the press conference, Exxon stated the following regarding its response to the Mayflower Oil Spill:
- Exxon is still removing oil from the pipeline, which ran for 18 miles between cutoff points on the stretch that exploded from a 22-foot rupture in a Mayflower subdivision;
- Exxon is still working on home values. Purchase of the homes is a possibility;
- The EPA reports it’s satisfied with Exxon’s response in the cleanup, but says wetlands remain a concern.
In the report, the Arkansas Times also noted that Exxon officials refused to comment on questions related to the 13 mile stretch of the Pegasus Pipeline that crosses the Maumelle Watershed, a source of drinking water for approximately 400,000 residents of Central Arkansas.
We view the fact that Exxon is looking into home values as a part of its response to the Mayflower Oil Spill as a positive development, consistent with our opinion that the decreased property values of homeowners affected by the oil spill will be an element of damage for which Exxon must pay in connection with its apparent fault in causing the oil spill. However, we advise caution to any resident approached by Exxon regarding the decreased value of their property.
It is important to keep in mind that Exxon has an interest in minimizing the compensation it must pay to affected residents. At this time we do not know:
- The basis of any valuation that Exxon might place on homes it looks at;
- The independence of adjusters and/or appraisers it hires to conduct valuation studies;
- The extent to which Exxon may be willing to pay affected homeowners for the loss of value to their property, specifically whether it will pay for just those properties onto which oil actually encroached, or whether it will pay for homes near the spill site which are also expected to suffer a decrease in value;
- Whether Exxon will consider a homeowner or other affected individuals’ “annoyance and inconvenience” claims in connection with valuation of property damage.
For these reasons, we continue to advise affected residents to seek an attorney in evaluating fully their legal rights in the wake of the Mayflower Oil Spill. Exxon has stated that it will pay all “valid” claims in connection with the oil spill, but without a qualified advocate on your side, you will most likely be a the mercy of Exxon to determine what a valid claim is.
Again, it is important to remember that Exxon’s interests lie with its shareholders and not you, and attorneys with experience in taking on large corporations such as Exxon are best suited to represent your interests in making sure that the parties at fault for the Mayflower Oil Spill pay full compensation for the damage they have caused.
Johnson & Vines, PLLC is working with Hare Wynn Newell & Newton in representing individuals who have been affected by the Mayflower Oil Spill. For additional information, please contact us at 501-372-1300 or at [email protected].