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Damages Received in Lawsuit Save Over Two Dozen Legal Jobs in DA’s Office By Rebecca E. Neely Following the recent settlement of two lawsuits, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office was able to retain over two dozen positions.

The settlement amount totaled $6.5 million, and was the result of lengthy and convoluted environmental litigation regarding Chevron’s unsafe underground storage practices at gas stations all over the state, according to District Attorney Jan Scully in the September 7th sacbee.com article, ‘’Chevron

Scully’s legal battles began nearly ten years ago. Her office filed a lawsuit, naming several major oil companies as negligent and liable for cleaning up MTBE-polluted groundwater at nearly 600 sites all over the county.

legal settlement helps save Sacramento County DA jobs’’. Eighteen prosecutors and seven clerical staff will keep their positions; prior to the settlement, the jobs were to be cut from the budget.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is a chemical which is often added to gasoline, which makes it burn cleaner and promotes air quality. However, it has been contaminating water supplies and has been detected at various levels in almost every state in the United States.

Though Scully was quoted as saying in the sacbee.com article that the money was ‘’fortuitous’’ and that it was a ‘’major achievement in the enforcement of environmental laws’’, she and her staff vowed to continue to look for future budgetary cost cutting solutions.

The damages Scully’s office received is in settlement of a suit filed regarding the 650 gas stations around the state of California, owned by Chevron, and the violation of antipollution laws, most significantly, underground storage of gasoline. Over thirty of them are in Sacramento County.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Cindy Besemer was quoted as saying: ‘’The timing here, obviously it’s great. But we shouldn’t have to depend upon settlements of big lawsuits to keep our office functioning.’’

Scully was quoted as saying: ‘’This area of litigation is a very unique, complicated area of litigation. It’s not your run-of-themill case, and you’re up against the big leagues of attorneys. ... It was a long-term investment.’’

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Damages Received in Lawsuit Save Over Two Dozen Legal Jobs in DA's Office