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Alleged negligent delivery of oil into unsound oil tank - Tank tips - Oil spill - Environmental clean-up required.

Dauphin County

The plaintiff was the owner of a Dauphin County mobile home park who claimed that the defendant oil company negligently made a delivery to an unsound above-ground oil tank. As a result, the plaintiff alleged that the tank tipped over and caused an oil spill on the property. The tenant of the mobile home park, who requested the oil delivery, was also sued by the plaintiff for contractual indemnification. The defendant oil company argued that the oil tank appeared sound at the time of the delivery and that the plaintiff could not establish the cause of the oil spill.

The plaintiff alleged that the outside oil tank which was filled by the defendant oil company was not properly installed on a cement foundation and was, instead, supported only by brick pads. The plaintiff alleged that the weight of the oil in the tank and the soggy ground conditions caused the tank to tip over and spill.

The resident of the mobile home came home in the afternoon following the morning delivery and discovered that the tank had tipped over and oil had spilled out. The plaintiff contended that the defendant’s employee should have realized, by visual inspection, that the tank was unsound. The plaintiff claimed that he incurred approximately $________ in damages for remediation of the oil spill.

The defendant’s employee testified that the tank appeared sound at the time he made the oil delivery. The defense argued that oil had previously been delivered to the tank in question without prior problems. The defense also argued that the plaintiff could not establish the cause of the spill and that the tank could have been struck by an outside force.

The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant fuel oil company. The jury found that the defendant tenant of the mobile home park breached his lease with the plaintiff, but that the breach was not a substantial factor in causing damages to the plaintiff.

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