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Exxon’s rash class action

Mar. 23, 2000

A New Orleans court is considering whether to OK a class-action lawsuit against an Exxon-Mobil oil refinery, which 8,000 residents say discharged chemicals that eventually washed into the local water supply during a heavy rainstorm in 1998.

The plaintiffs allege that their tap water smelled strongly of gasoline, and that the pollution caused their myriad health problems; two plaintiffs complained, for example, of strange rashes. Testimony and records from local doctors, however, indicated that yeast fungus caused the rashes.

The doctors and, of course, Exxon-Mobil, are fingering the fungus, but lawyers for the residents say the ugly rashes shouldn’t even be an issue yet. The plaintiffs argue that the high number of complaints and symptoms is enough to show there were dangerous chemicals in the tap water, and warrants a class-action suit.



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