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Knabe v. National Supply Div. of Armco Steel Corp.

Citation: 9 ELR 20257
No. No. 77-1250, 592 F.2d 841/13 ERC 1119/(5th Cir., 04/05/1979)

The Fifth Circuit affirms the district court's award of compensatory damages to plaintiffs for water pollution discharged from defendant's industrial plant but reverses the lower court's award of judgment notwithstanding the verdict to defendant on plaintiffs' additional claim for exemplary damages. The jury's award of compensatory damages was based on its finding that discharges from defendant's plant were permitted to seep onto plaintiffs' dairy farm, thereby rendering the land unfit for raising milk cattle. The court finds that the lower court did not err either in awarding damages for lost profits or in awarding damages concurrently for decline in the market value of the property and for loss of productivity. The lower court did err, however, in setting aside the jury's award of exemplary damages for lack of sufficient evidence. The record shows that sufficient evidence of the defendant's willfulness or conscious disregard of its actions was presented to the jury to support its determination.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Cletus C. Schenk
Schenk & Westbrooks
Suite 400 Hamilton Bldg., Wichita Falls TX 76301
(817) 322-4451

Counsel for Defendant
Royal H. Brin, Jr.
Strasburger & Price
12th Fl., One Main Place, Dallas TX 75250
(214) 747-9211

Before INGRAHAM, GEE and FAY, Circuit Judges.