CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. was found liable Tuesday in a long-running lawsuit over groundwater contamination caused by the gasoline additive MTBE, and the jury ordered the oil giant to pay $236 million to New Hampshire to clean it up.
The jurors reached their verdicts in less than 90 minutes, after sitting through nearly three months of testimony.
The panel awarded the state all $236 million it was seeking to monitor and remediate groundwater contaminated by MTBE. The chemical was added to gasoline to reduce smog but was found to travel farther and faster in groundwater than gasoline without the additive.
Exxon Mobil lawyers made it clear outside the jury’s presence last week that they were laying the groundwork for an appeal.
The verdict is more than twice the $105 million jurors award the New York City Water District in 2009 in its case against Exxon Mobil over MTBE contamination. That case is on appeal.
Jurors found that Exxon Mobil was negligent in adding MTBE to its gasoline and that it was a defective product. They also found Exxon Mobil liable for failing to warn distributors and consumers about its contaminating characteristics.
KPMG quits as auditor for Herbalife, Skechers
NEW YORK (AP) — Accounting firm KPMG has resigned as the auditor for Herbalife, a dietary supplements maker, and the shoe retailer Skechers after a rogue partner allegedly leaked information about the companies to someone who then used the information to trade stocks.
KPMG said it has fired the partner and has no reason to believe there were any problems with the financial reports of Herbalife or Skechers.
Still, the development is a headache for both companies. KPMG withdrew its recent audit reports of both companies, because it felt its own independence had been compromised.
David Weinberg, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Skechers, said, “I don’t think it’s catastrophic because we have the greatest confidence in the financial statements that were released and that he (the KPMG partner) acted alone,” Weinberg said.
KPMG didn’t reveal the partner’s identity.
Chrysler recalls 247,000 SUVs, cars
DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler Group LLC is recalling more than 247,000 SUVs and cars for several problems, including faulty gas tank hoses, broken drive shafts and air bag warning lights that illuminate when there’s no problem.
The largest of the recalls covers about 139,000 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years. The automaker says that faulty wiring can cause the air bag warning lights to illuminate.
Chrysler also is recalling 78,500 two-wheel-drive Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro midsize SUVs because the drive shafts can break. The SUVs are from the 2007 and 2008 model years.
Also, the automaker is recalling about 30,000 small SUVs because a faulty hose inside the gas tank can cause them to run out of fuel. The recall affects Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass four-wheel-drive vehicles from the 2012 model year.
Payments to begin for foreclosed borrowers
WASHINGTON — Banks this week will start making payments to millions of borrowers who were foreclosed on at the height of an era where wrongful actions were taken, federal regulators announced Tuesday.
Payments to 4.2 million borrowers whose homes were in any stage of foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 will begin Friday, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Tuesday.
The payments, which will range from $300 to $125,000, are expected to be completed by mid-July.
Most borrowers will get between $300 and $800.
Borrowers can call Rust Consulting, the paying agent, at 888-952-9105 to update their contact information or verify that they are covered by the settlement.