MTBE Litigation Timeline

1979MTBE first added to some of the U.S. gasoline supply
1980First documented case of MTBE contamination in Rockaway, NJ; oil industry learns of unique MTBE risk to environment
Mid 1980sInternal documents reveal that oil industry engineers discover MTBE  contamination risks and counsel companies against its use
Late 1980sEPA estimates 35% of underground gas storage tanks leak
1986Maine DEP scientists publish research on MTBE contamination risks
1990Clean Air Act passed by Congress requires non-specific oxygenates added to gasoline in Reformulated Gas States
1995Scott Summy files first MTBE contamination case representing Wilmington, NC residents against Conoco
1997Summy and legal team win favorable verdict for clients and successfully resolve first MTBE lawsuit
1998Summy files water contamination suit on behalf of Communities for a Better Environment (California) and uncovers documents showing corporate knowledge of MTBE risks for the 1980s, which become basis for future product liability claims.
2000 City of Santa Monica forced to import 30% of drinking water following MTBE contamination of wells; hires Summy and Baron & Budd in suit against oil companies
2002Baron & Budd reaches significant settlement with oil companies on behalf of City of Santa Monica
2002South Tahoe settles with major oil refiners and MTBE manufacturers
2003Amendment to Energy Bill absolving oil companies of liability in MTBE claims is defeated in U.S. Senate by one vote
2005Second oil industry attempt to get MTBE liability immunity from Congress is also defeated
2008Baron & Budd’s Scott Summy, as co-lead counsel for 153 plaintiffs from 17 states, reaches historic partial settlement  with oil industry, including substantial monetary recovery as well as 30-year well protection plan 

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