Oil Industry’s First Complete Defense Victory for NORM

September 15, 2006

Blank Rome successfully represented Ashland Inc. in a case involving naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) arising out of operations in its Martha Oil Field in eastern Kentucky.  On September 15, 2006, the Kentucky Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Cantrell v. Ashland Inc., upholding a 2003 jury verdict in favor of Ashland and finding that Ashland’s position had greater support in both fact and law. The Cantrell trial involved two sets of claims by plaintiff property owners, who claimed that Ashland Inc. had contaminated the surface of their properties.

"One of the foundations of the favorable verdict, and its affirmation on appeal was the success of key pretrial efforts led by members of the Blank Rome team to limit the testimony of plaintiffs’ experts," said Ralph H. Johnson, partner in Blank Rome’s toxic tort group. In particular, through pre-trial Daubert proceedings, the team successfully limited the testimony of plaintiffs’ certified health physicist.

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) is a diversified, global chemical Fortune 500 company.  It has sales and operations throughout the United States and more than 100 countries internationally.