Damages Opinion Could Help Total In Tanker Spill Case

Law360, New York (March 14, 2008, 12:00 AM EDT) -- An adviser to the European Court of Justice said Thursday that companies that do not intentionally cause damages could possibly be excluded from liability. The opinion could toss a lifeline to oil giant Total SA as it fights a French court ruling blaming it for one of Europe's worst environmental disasters.

In a nonbinding opinion, Advocate General Juliane Kokott contended that the “polluter-pays” principle in European Commission waste law could justify pinning Total with liability from heavy fuel oil discharge.

But the same principle also excludes...
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