Lawsuits follow big Michigan oil spill

Jan. 31, 2011 at 10:23 AM
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BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Six months after a large spill in Michigan, the oil is cleaned up but lawsuits and complaints remain, lawyers say.

On July 25, 843,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River in south-central Michigan.

Enbridge, an Alberta oil company, has been praised for the physical cleanup, but residents of Marshall Township, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo have filed more than 2,370 claims for medical bills, hotel stays, property repairs and other expenses, The Detroit News reports.

The company's handling of liability claims, the intrusion of the cleanup work into daily lives and a perceived failure to follow through on promises have troubled many.

"There has not been a whole lot of integrity on the part of Enbridge in many respects," said Elizabeth Thomson, a lawyer who has filed a class-action suit.

She said waivers sent out by Enbridge forced residents to give up their right to sue in return for short-term financial assistance.

Enbridge could spend as much as $550 million on the cleanup, most of it covered by its insurance carrier.

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