GATX to Contest Verdict
The jury verdict arises out of a lawsuit against nine defendants, including two subsidiaries of GATX Corporation, relating to a leak of butadiene from a railcar which resulted in a fire that occurred in New Orleans in September 1987. The fire resulted in no deaths or significant injuries and only minimal property damage, but resulted in the overnight evacuation of a number of residents of the surrounding area.
The jury awarded compensatory damages totaling approximately $1.9 million, plus interest from the date of the accident, to twenty individual plaintiffs, approximately one-third of which would be borne by General American Transportation Corporation and GATX Terminals Corporation. In addition, the jury made five separate punitive damage awards against five defendants totaling $3.4 billion of which $190 million is against GATX Terminals; the other four awards were against non-GATX companies. While the punitive damage award covers the entire class of plaintiffs, the case is the first of many that must be tried to determine the compensatory damages, if any, allocable to each of the remaining plaintiffs who claim to have been affected by the incident.
Although 8,000 claims have been made, GATX believes that damages, if any, awarded to the remaining plaintiffs should average substantially less than those awarded to the initial twenty plaintiffs.
GATX believes that the compensatory damages awarded to the twenty plaintiffs are excessive. GATX further believes that there is absolutely no basis for the award of punitive damages against GATX in any amount. GATX will ask the trial court to review and vacate or appropriately limit the judgment and, if necessary, it will vigorously appeal any final judgment.
SOURCE GATX Corporation
/CONTACT: George S. Lowman of GATX Corporation, 312-621-6599/
CO: GATX Corporation ST: Illinois IN: MAR TRN SU:
MS-MG -- CLM040 -- 5061 09/08/97 18:26 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com