October 20, 2023
On October 19, 2023, Weil won a significant victory for client ExxonMobil when, after two hours of deliberations and four days of trial, a jury in the Eastern District of New York returned a complete defense verdict for ExxonMobil, finding that our client did not breach its contract with British Petroleum North America, Inc. (“BP”). The verdict denies BP millions of dollars it sought from ExxonMobil in attorneys’ fees.
In 2006, BP demanded that ExxonMobil defend BP against “any and all claims” asserted in a series of 23 lawsuits concerning environmental contamination in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn, New York, pursuant to an agreement between the parties. ExxonMobil agreed to defend BP, but subject to certain, specified conditions that it asserted were consistent with the parties’ agreement, as amended by a subsequent settlement agreement.
BP rejected ExxonMobil’s offer and proceeded to defend itself in the Greenpoint lawsuits. However, BP always maintained that ExxonMobil was obligated to defend BP in the lawsuits, though the parties tolled BP’s claim for many years until, in 2019, BP decided not to renew the parties’ tolling agreement and brought suit for breach of the parties’ underlying agreement in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Chen, J.). BP sought millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees associated with its defense of the 23 environmental lawsuits.
After four days of trial, and less than two hours of deliberations, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for ExxonMobil, finding that Weil’s client did not breach its contract with BP.