Exxon Mobile v. PTS

Hey, not everything I do involves suing insurance companies.  There was a fire in ExxonMobil's Torrance refinery that caused, they say, $30,000,000 worth of damages. 

The fire had been caused by ExxonMobil's sloppy operating practices, its failure to make sure that the right materials were being installed in the refinery, its refusal to shut the plant down for maintenance, and its cutting corners on inspections.  But instead of admitting responsibility, ExxonMobil tried to blame a small inspection company called Pacific Technical Services.  ExxonMobil claimed the company had improperly performed a test at the refinery six years prior to the fire.  

However, ExxonMobil's sloppy practices included sloppy record keeping.  Its "proof" that Pacific Technical had performed this test was a partially burned handwritten record that wasn't signed by anyone from Pacific Technical (in fact, it wasn't signed at all) or dated.   But even though nobody could be sure what this record meant, ExxonMobile tried to use it to bankrupt Pacific Technical.

Pacific Technical's attorney, John Byrne, called me a month and a half before trial to see if I wanted to help him try it.  Of course I did. The case took three weeks to try, and the jury took maybe an hour or so of deliberation to decide that Exxon Mobile had no case.  Judgment was issued in favor of Pacific Technical.



© 2015 The Law Offices of Russell G. Petti