Mission Valley fuel storage tanks. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

The city of San Diego’s $300 million lawsuit against the owner of a leaky fuel tank farm in Mission Valley was revived by an appellate court Thursday, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

The federal lawsuit against Kinder Morgan Energy, filed in 2007, was dismissed by a lower court two years ago. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled Thursday that there was enough evidence to proceed with a jury trial.

The city contends that Kinder Morgan, which purchased the facility in 1998, assumed the liability for decades of pollution from leaky tanks and pipelines. Leaks from the facility created a large gas plume beneath Qualcomm Stadium, which has mostly been cleaned up.

“We had to fight for it, but this decision now ensures that the city will get its day in court,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “The jury will hear that a substantial amount of pollution was dumped on city property through no fault of its own and that the adjoining property owner — not taxpayers — should bear the costs.”

Attorneys for Kinder Morgan argued to the appellate justices that the city’s lawsuit was speculative and based on unreliable testimony.

A trial date has not been set.

City News Service

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