NEW YORK (Reuters) - A jury in Maryland awarded plaintiffs suing Exxon Mobil more than $1.5 billion for a 2006 leak at a gasoline station, the Baltimore Sun reported on Friday.
The Sun, quoting a source who had viewed the verdict, said the jury had awarded the 160 plaintiffs in the case in Baltimore County Circuit Court against the oil company more than $1 billion in punitive damages.
That figure is in addition the $495 million in compensation that the jury awarded the plaintiffs for damage caused by the 26,000 gallons of gasoline that leaked from a pressurized line in Jacksonville, Maryland over 37 days in January and February in 2006.
Exxon Mobil said the company would appeal the verdict.
"As we've stated throughout the last five years, we sincerely regret this unfortunate accident. We apologize to the Jacksonville community and have devoted significant resources to clean-up, recovery and remediation activities," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
The leak reached the groundwater in the community that relies on private wells for drinking water.
Reuters was not able to independently confirm the verdict.
The company has said it had already spent more than $46 million on the spill's cleanup and been fined $4 million by the state, the paper reported.
Shares in Exxon Mobil were up 12 cents at $81.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The case is Allison, Et Al Vs Exxonmobil Corp, Et Al, Circuit Court for Baltimore County - Civil System, No. 03C07003809.
(Reporting by Matt Daily, additional reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington; Editing by Derek Caney)