The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today issued a brief order denying the Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company’s appeal of the approval of a class action in the lawsuit by property owners along the Pegasus pipeline, which ruptured in Mayflower.
Said the court:
Petitioners’ petition for permission to appeal has been considered by the court and is denied. Mandate shall issue forthwith.
This means the lawsuit can continue and plaintiffs can continue with the discovery process on Exxon’s operation and maintenance of the line.
Aug. 12, Judge Brian Miller approved a class action by “all persons and entities who currently own real property subject to an easement for the Pegasus Pipeline and who have pipeline physically crossing their property, from Patoka, Illinois to Corsicana, Texas.” Plaintiffs want the easement rescinded or the pipeline removed or replaced. A separate lawsuit exists over damages alleged by property owners near the break.
A successful appeal would have been a significant blow against the case. But a huge class remains in place and plaintiffs have potential for significant discoveries, based on what’s already known, for example, about welding problems in some of the pipe. The 8th Circuit ultimately could still take up the question of whether the class was properly constituted.