NM court rules against residents suing oil company

Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Court of Appeals has ruled against a group of current and former Hobbs residents who sued an oil company because of illnesses and other damages.

The court on Tuesday upheld a Lea County District Court decision not to grant a new trial in the case against Shell Oil Co. and Shell Western Exploration and Production Inc.

The Hobbs residents alleged there was environmental contamination from oil and natural gas production in an area that became a housing subdivision in the southeastern New Mexico community.

A jury in 2007 ruled in favor of Shell, which had oil storage tanks in the area from 1946 until 1993. There also was an unlined storage pit for oilfield wastes that was buried in the 1960s. Housing development in the area started in the 1970s.

A lawyer for the residents, Michael Newell, said Wednesday that no decision has been made on whether to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

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