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Shell Oil Sued for Millions for Pollution Fraud at 12 NH Gas Stations

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 22.12.49“Because Shell deliberately misled the Fund into reimbursing expenses which should not have been reimbursed, and because the Fund has a subrogation right with respect to the divested sites at which Shell retains primary liability for pollution, the Fund has filed this lawsuit to recover its expenditures, including interest and attorney fees and seeks enhanced compensatory damages,” reads the lawsuit, which brings a total of five counts against Shell, including right to full repayment, breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and statutory subrogation.

Issues at a Salem gas station are part of the reason why the N.H. attorney general is going after Shell to recoup fraudulently-obtained funds.

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Authorities will attempt to recoup millions of dollars from a large gas and oil company they say received secret insurance payments for 12 New Hampshire gas stations with leaking tanks — money the company received despite the fact that the payments violate an agreement the company signed to also get pollution remediation reimbursements from the state.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced a lawsuit against Shell Oil, Inc., on Wednesday, claiming that Shell received “multiple recoveries” for remediation of numerous leaking underground gas and diesel storage tanks.

A state-run “excess insurance” fund called the Oil Discharge and Disposal Cleanup Fund pays out claims to companies who have to clean up spills and hazardous sites, according to the AG’s office. Payouts are only made, though, “if there is no other available coverage or other third-party payer,” which is what the AG’s office said Shell claimed when it received more than $2.4 million from the fund for cleanups at the following Shell stations:

  • Lafayette Road in Hampton
  • Harris Road in Nashua
  • Amherst Street in Nashua
  • Broad Street in Nashua
  • Broadway in Salem
  • Main Dunstable Road in Nashua
  • Elm Street in Manchester
  • Hooksett Road in Hooksett
  • Central Avenue in Dover
  • Lebanon Street in Hanover
  • South Main Street in Concord
  • South Willow Street in Manchester

Shell also sued its insurers for cleanups at these sites, though, obtaining money for the New Hampshire stations as part of a “nationwide array of claims in a series of settlements worth more than $414 million,” according to state officials.

The lawsuit states Shell made a “critical omission” when it didn’t disclose the “existence of potential coverage” of this nature.

“Because Shell deliberately misled the Fund into reimbursing expenses which should not have been reimbursed, and because the Fund has a subrogation right with respect to the divested sites at which Shell retains primary liability for pollution, the Fund has filed this lawsuit to recover its expenditures, including interest and attorney fees and seeks enhanced compensatory damages,” reads the lawsuit, which brings a total of five counts against Shell, including right to full repayment, breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and statutory subrogation.

Read the full lawsuit here.

SOURCE

A Shell spokesperson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment for this story.

 

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