Judge Overrules Jury Verdict, Says BP Corp. Liable for Neodesha Damage

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A state judge says the city of Neodesha is entitled by law to recover the costs of cleanup and damage caused by an oil refinery.

The decision from District Court Judge Daniel Creitz overturns a jury verdict that sided with oil giant BP Corp. North America and its predecessors.

Creitz handed down the decision Monday, saying that he erred in jury instructions over liability after a 17-week trial in the class-action lawsuit filed by the small southeast Kansas town of Neodesha.

The judge says the city is entitled to a new trial to determine the damages. He gave the company 10 days to appeal his decision.

The city is seeking about $478 million for clean costs and damages as well as punitive damages.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)