An Exxon state of mind

Among the objections defense lawyer Jim Sanders raised Monday during the Jacksonville gas station leak trial was to a statement a plaintiff made to a psychiatrist about Sanders’ client, Exxon Mobil Corp.

The plaintiff said Exxon will “drag out” residents’ case on appeal and referred to litigation related to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill – still ongoing – as proof.  (Sanders, incidentally, has defended the company in the Exxon Valdez case.)

Sanders said the statement, which he read aloud during a court recess, is “absolutely inadmissible.” The frustration over how long things might take is fair game, he said, but it was the plaintiff’s choice to join the mass-action lawsuit that led to the litigation, not Exxon’s.

“To put the blame on litigation … that cuts both ways,” Sanders said.

Charles G. Bernstein, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers from The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos PC, argued the statement should be allowed.

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