Recently, the city of Atwater received a favorable ruling from the Merced County Superior Court regarding groundwater contamination against Shell Oil Company, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A).
Following a four-month trial, the Merced court finally awarded Atwater $63 million against water damages. The lawsuit charged Shell $53 million for compensatory damages and $10 million for punitive damages.
The litigation was slapped due to the presence of highly toxic chemical 1,2,3- Trichloropropane (TCP) in the Shell-marketed nematocide.
In 2018, the state authorities of California restricted the pollutant level in public drinking water to 5-parts-per-trillion. Realizing that the contamination exceeded the maximum level, the city filed a court case against the Houston-based subsidiary.
According to Atwater, Shell continuously retailed TCP-containing nematocide in the Central Valley without divulging its TCP content. Shell’s sale of nematocide was widely used by Atwater for killing worms mostly across the agricultural terrains inducing pollution and contamination of groundwater in the process.
The money awarded to the city against the lawsuit will be utilized for disinfecting and purifying the water of Atwater.
Apart from Atwater, cities like Livingston, Visalia and Clovis faced similar difficulties of drinking water contamination. Two years back, Clovis won a lawsuit against Shell over the presence of the same toxic-TCP in the water.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Shell carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Buy). Better-ranked players in the energy space include BP Midstream Partners BPMP, Dril-Quip, Inc. DRQ and World Fuel Services Corp. INT, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
BP Midstream’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters.
Dril-Quip earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the previous four quarters.
World Fuel Services earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the last four quarters.
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