Jury orders oil company to pay $4.3 to Tyler Co. farmer - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Jury orders oil company to pay $4.3 to Tyler Co. farmer

Photo courtesy of Robert Sheffield. Photo courtesy of Robert Sheffield.
Photo courtesy of Robert Sheffield. Photo courtesy of Robert Sheffield.
Photo courtesy of Robert Sheffield. Photo courtesy of Robert Sheffield.
TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

WOODVILLE, Texas (KTRE) - A Tyler County District Judge has ordered an oil company to pay $4.3 million to a farmer following a jury's decision in October.

Robert Sheffield sued Ergon Oil after he caught workers dumping toxic chemicals into a pit on his property, after they had drilled the area for oil.

According to a press release, Sheffield saw the workers come back the next day and cover the pit with top soil. The chemicals were buried in the pit and designed to drain into his stock pond, according to the statement.

The chemicals from the pit filtered into Sheffield's lake and killed every living animal in it. Sheffield eventually discovered the toxic materials seeped into his ground and groundwater at dangerous levels.

In October, a jury ordered to pay $38,500 for damages to his land, $1.3 million for cleaning up the chemicals and $3,000,001 in punitive damages. Sheffield sought $3 million in punitive damages.

According to Sheffield's daughter, Carrie Cravens, Ergon refused to sign the judgment, so it did not become public record until Jan. 26.

Ergon plans to appeal the ruling, Cravens said.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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