Updated October 27, 2010 04:55 PM CST: The oil company BP is appealing to the Kansas supreme court to reverse a civil judgment against them by the city of Neodesha.
The city, Wilson County, and landowners brought a class-action suit against BP alleging damages resulting from BP's on-going clean-up of a former oil refinery operation.
A jury had ruled in BP's favor following 17 weeks of trial.
But the trial judge set aside the verdict and entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.
BP's appeal is based on whether the district court had the right to set aside the jury verdict.
If the supreme court thinks that decision was wrong, a new trial could be awarded.
Posted June 18, 2010 05:57 PM CST
BP's response to Gulf oil spill doesn't surprise Kansas town in a legal tug of war with the company
By NATE HACKNEY
NEODESHA, KAN. - For some residents of Neodesha, Kansas watching the news of the BP oil crisis in the Gulf every day hits close to home.
Underneath their home to be exact.
"It's quite a tragedy, however, it's something that we've been dealing with for years," says Neodesha City Administrator J.D. Cox. "And some of the reactions of the BP officials are some of the same things that they've been saying here for years."
Residents in Neodesha, Kansas have been in a legal tug of war with BP for years over issues of contaminated groundwater.
In 2004 the city of Neodesha, Kansas filed a suit against BP. They claim the oil giant's inadequate cleanup of waste from a refinery has left half the city's groundwater contaminated.
The refinery closed nearly 40 years ago.
Officials say a jury originally ruled in favor of BP but the judge overturned the decision in favor of the city. BP is now appealing to the state supreme court.
"We have not been satisfied with the cleanup efforts that have been completed up to this point.," Cox says.
In addition to the obvious health concerns the city says that the oil has caused economic problems, like a softball field shut down because oil was known to seep up through the ground.
The news of BP's alleged negligence in the Gulf cleanup is disappointingly familiar to Neodesha resident Lucille Campbell.
"This Gulf is so much more horrendous but you see their mode of operation is the same," Campbell says. "They treated little Neodesha just like they're treating the Gulf."
She says that while she is outraged and saddened by the images she sees on national news it gives her hope that this time the whole world will notice.
"I would like to think that the truth will come out on this," Campbell says.