Calif. court clears way for $500 million award for Macpherson Oil

Legal News Line Jul. 10, 2008, 4:26pm

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - The California Supreme Court denied a petition for review Thursday from the city of Hermosa Beach, Calif., clearing the way for a $500 million damages award to Macpherson Oil Company.

The Southern California city's petition challenged a trial court decision that the city breached its oil and gas lease with Macpherson, based in Bakersfield, Calif.

The trial court deemed the city liable for payment in monetary damages as determined in a forthcoming jury trial.

"While this result was not unexpected," said Jim Bright, an attorney for Macpherson, "it removes the last of several obstacles the city has attempted to place in Macpherson's way to prevent or delay the trial on the amount of damages the city now owes Macpherson."

Macpherson said it intends to prove damages in excess of $500 million. Attempts between Macpherson and the city of Hermosa Beach to settle the dispute have repeatedly broken down over a period of 10 years.

Bright said in a statement that based upon this settlement history, "Macpherson believes there will be no justice unless and until this lawsuit proceeds through trial and appeal, and is eager to schedule the trial on damages. The Supreme Court's denial of the City's petition clear the way for this to happen."

Bright said of the court's decision, "the end of this epic litigation saga is drawing near."

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