DEFENSE BENCH TRIAL JUDGMENT FOR MURPHY OIL RENDERED ON DECEMBER 23, 2014
For the first time in the history of St. Bernard Parish, on June 10, 2003, there were multiple fires at two major oil refineries on the same day; one fire took place at Murphy’s Meraux refinery, while two other fires ensued at Chalmette Refining, LLC. The class action eventually settled against Murphy. However, the Bridges mass joinder lawsuit against Murphy (and not Chalmette Refinery), filed by Darleen Jacobs, eventually went to trial in the 34th JDC for over a year. According to the addresses provided by Plaintiffs in their POCs, at the time of the fire, 164 Plaintiffs were located between 2.2 miles and 5.8 miles from the fire.
After ten years of protracted litigation during which Plaintiffs repeatedly refused to rest their case during trial, only 95 of the 164 named Plaintiffs testified before the Court on eight separate trial dates.
The court found that the June 10, 2003 Murphy 'explosion'/fire was not the source of the complaints of the plaintiffs and that they had not met their burden of proof of causation. The court found that the Defendant's air modeling evidence was the most persuasive and convinced the court that the particulate matter did not reach the plaintiffs' neighborhood in Algiers during the time period at issue.
Frilot partner, A.J. Krouse defended the case on behalf of Murphy Oil.