Oil Company loses appeal: must pay non-economic damages to woman after destroying her home
High Pointe Oil Company pumped 400 gallons of fuel oil into the basement of Beckie Price's home, creating an environmental hazard that required the destruction of the home and left Price homeless for nearly two years. She sued for negligence and recovered a verdict for the property damage, plus $100,000.00 in non-economic damages. High Pointe's insurer appealed, arguing that it could not be held responsible for Price's non-economic injuries (that is, her displacement from home, loss of her home, and mental anguish and inconvenience).The Court of Appeals rejected High Pointe's appeal and upheld the jury verdict, finding that it was appropriately supported by factual evidence. It also rejected the Defendant's argument that since Price did not fear for her own well-being, she could not claim non-economic damages for the destruction of her property, as a matter of law. The Court explained that this defense applied only in the case of destruction to personal property---not real property (a home).