Md. high court overturns $1.5B award against Exxon

Jessica Gresko, Associated Press

Maryland's highest court has overturned jury verdicts that ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay more than $1.5 billion in damages for a 2006 gasoline station leak that polluted a community's drinking water.

The Court of Appeals of Marlyand issued two rulings Tuesday, ordering new trials in cases related to the spill.

The larger of the two cases was brought by 150 families and businesses. In 2011, a jury awarded $1 billion in punitive damages and $495 million in compensatory damages after a trial that lasted months.

On Tuesday, the court overturned the punitive damages, saying they could only be awarded if the plaintiffs proved that the Irving, Texas-based company had intended to act wrongfully. The judges didn't find that to be the case.