August 21, 2008

Oil Lawsuit Bills Withdrawn

State leaders have again pulled back on proposed legislation that could have spared Hermosa Beach from paying millions in damages to a jilted oil company.

At the request of the city, Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-El Segundo, and Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Redondo Beach, have set aside two proposed bills that would have limited how much Macpherson Oil could recover in lost profit damages from Hermosa for backing out of a drilling deal in 1998.

The leaders will give the parties more time to negotiate a settlement during the state Legislature's upcoming hiatus, but Lieu planned to reintroduce AB 88 should a deal not be reached by January, he said in a statement Wednesday.

Meanwhile, both sides are waiting for a judge to set a trial date to determine how much Hermosa must pay in damages for bailing on a 1992 drilling agreement with Macpherson.

The Santa Monica-based company has asked for $500 million, but the city's most recent settlement offer hit just $4.5 million.

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