Kenneth Acks CEO of the Cost-Benefit Group testifies on Diminution in Property Values from Underground Storage Tank Leak at ExxonMobil Gasoline Station in Jacksonville, Maryland

January 2nd, 2009

On December 30th and 31st 2008 Ken Acks CEO of the Cost-Benefit Group testified before a Baltimore County jury regarding the diminution in property values resulting from an underground gasoline storage tank leak in Jacksonville, Maryland. Jacksonville is an affluent community about 20 miles north of the City of Baltimore. The tank, located at an ExxonMobil gasoline station, spilled about 26,000 gallons of gas over 37 days until it was discovered in February 2006. Jury selection began October 1st 2008, and the trial started on October 14th. Several environmental and health experts, and most plaintiffs testified before Mr. Acks.

Mr. Acks directed the valuation estimates for 91 properties. As part of the process Richard Kern, SRA, a local appraiser, estimated property value as uncontaminated at the time of the spill, The average property value was determined to be about $690,000. Mr. Acks then used a variety of techniques to estimate expected diminution levels, based upon contamination probabilities provided by Whitman Associates and other environmental consultants, an extensive search of academic literature, surveys, interviews, investigations of real estate activity in the area and other research.

Mr. Acks had been deposed over four days by attorneys for the defendant, ExxonMobil, in the year prior to the spill. Robert Weltchek a name partner at Snyder, Weltchek & Snyder, the attorneys for the plaintiffs, directed questions to Mr. Acks on December 30th. He then faced cross examination from attorneys for the defendant, and a redirect by Mr. Weltchek.