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Anthony v. Chevron, USA, Inc.

Citation: 32 ELR 20481
No. No. 00-50710, 284 F.3d 578/(5th Cir., 03/01/2002)

The court affirms a district court holding that individuals failed to provide sufficient evidence of causation and damages to reach the jury on either water or soil pollution claims brought against an oil company. The individuals own the surface estate of a ranch. The mineral estate of the ranch is separate from the surface estate and owned by an oil company. The individuals sued the oil company claiming that the company's negligent operations contaminated the ranch's soil as well as an aquifer that provided drinking water for the ranch. The court first holds that the individuals' two expert witnesses on water contamination failed to present sufficient evidence that the company caused the pollution of the aquifer and failed to show the extent of the damage resulting from that contamination. The court also holds that the individuals' experts on soil contamination failed to establish a legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the individuals on essential elements of their soil pollution claims. Rather, any finding of liability would require the jurors to speculate as to both the cause of the pollution and the extent of the damage to the surface estate. Therefore, the district court's dismissal of the individuals' claims was affirmed.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
David W. Holman
Holman & Keeling
440 Louisiana St., Ste. 2220, Houston TX 77002
(713) 223-2220

Counsel for Defendant
Steven C. Kiser
Lynch, Chappell & Alsup
300 N. Marienfield, Midland TX 79701
(915) 683-3351

Garza, J. Before Jones and Stewart, JJ.