News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

June 29, 2008

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Continental Carbon Phenix City Decision

Filed under: Carbon Black — Tags: , , — Notch @ 11:52 am

On Friday, June 27, 2008, the United States Supreme Court rejected all further appeals of punitive damages in a nearly 4-year-old ruling against Continental Carbon Company (Houston, Texas) and its parent company, China Synthetic Rubber Corp. (Taipei, Taiwan) regarding air emissions from Concarb’s carbon black plant in Phenix City, Alabama.

In 2004, a federal jury handed down a $20.7 million verdict in favor of four plaintiffs, including the city of Columbus, Georgia, local boat dealer John Tharpe, and South Columbus resident Owen Ditchfield against Concarb and CSRC. According to the verdict, emissions of airborne carbon black particles from the Phenix City plant caused property damage in the city of Columbus, Georgia, which is just across the Chattahoochee River from the plant. The $20.7 million verdict included $3.2 million in compensatory damages and court costs and $17.5 million in punitive damages.

Continental appealed the decision, but on March 21, 2007 a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia upheld the verdict. On April 11, 2007, Continental filed a petition for a rehearing of the appeals court decision on the grounds that the punitive damages of $17.5 million were excessive. In late May 2007, the US Court of Appeals refused Continental’s request to rehear its own decision in the case. Continental paid the compensatory damages and court costs in June 2007, but appealed the $17.5 million in punitive damages to the US Supreme Court, which on Friday refused to hear the appeal.

On Friday, Continental Carbon’s president Kim K.T. Pan released a statement indicating that the company will pay the $17.5 million punitive damage judgement in accordance with the ruling.

Here is an Associated Press article on the decision.
Here is Continental Carbon Company’s statement on the decision.

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