Baron and Budd Files Lawsuit on Behalf of State of Vermont Regarding MTBE Groundwater Contamination
Firm Working Closely With State Attorney General’s Office on Water Contamination Lawsuit
DALLAS – (June 6, 2014) – Baron and Budd, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the environment, yesterday filed a lawsuit against numerous manufacturers and refiners of MTBE-containing gasoline regarding the contamination of Vermont groundwater by the gasoline additive MTBE. Baron and Budd is proud to work with Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell in the lawsuit. Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. and Pawa Law Group, P.C. also serve as co-counsel in the litigation.
“The sad truth is that this chemical is still lingering on a widespread basis in groundwater and drinking water across the country,” said Scott Summy, head of Baron and Budd’s water contamination litigation team.
The lawsuit alleges that the companies chose to sell MTBE anyway, even though they knew that the chemical could contaminate groundwater in Vermont. More importantly, the lawsuit claims that the companies did not inform Vermont regulators, resellers or even consumers about the potential hazards of MTBE use or how to properly handle MTBE-containing gasoline to help protect groundwater from potential contamination.
MTBE, or Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, is a chemical additive used to boost octane in gasoline. Use of MTBE skyrocketed after an amendment to the Clean Air Act was passed in 1990, which required the use of oxygenates in gasoline in certain areas of the country. MTBE was a particularly popular choice because it was inexpensive and readily available, though there were other, more expensive, but less hazardous, alternatives.
Baron and Budd previously represented more than 150 municipalities in 17 states in national litigation regarding MTBE contamination. Firm shareholder Scott Summy, who filed the first MTBE lawsuit in the country, served as national co-counsel in the case. The litigation ultimately resulted in a more than $400 million settlement with many of the nation’s oil companies that required the companies to pay water providers’ costs to remove MTBE from contaminated drinking wells and for refiners to pay for treatment of qualifying wells that may still become contaminated within the next 30 years.
In 2009, the Baron and Budd lawyers who worked on the case were selected as finalists for the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.
To learn more about Baron and Budd’s water contamination practice, visit baronandbudd.com.
About Baron & Budd, P.C.
With a history of over 35 years “Protecting What’s Right” for individuals, communities, and governmental entities, Baron and Budd is a well-established law firm devoted to making a positive difference. With offices in Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles and Baton Rouge, Baron and Budd is able to take on complicated and expensive cases within the realms of dangerous drugs and medical devices, asbestos-related illnesses, consumer fraud, water contamination, the Gulf oil spill and fraudulent financial practices.