The Manchester-based J&S Oil Co. has lost a bid to recoup losses it sustained when 1,500 gallons of oil leaked from an oil tank trailer at its headquarters at 867 Western Ave., Manchester, in early March 2012.

The oil spilled onto the ground and spread to a neighboring property and drainage ditches.

J&S Oil, through its attorney, James M. Bowie, filed a lawsuit in January 2014 in U.S. District Court against HDI-Gerling America Insurance Co. in Chicago seeking an unspecified amount of damages under its commercial automobile insurance policy.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Jon Levy ruled last week that the trailer was actually “mobile equipment” maintained solely for use on company premises and was not covered under the auto policy.

“The evidence shows that the tanker trailer was not registered, was not inspected, was put to use for storage and transportation of oil on J&S Oil’s Manchester property, and never left that property during plaintiff’s ownership,” Levy wrote.

On Thursday, Levy granted summary judgment in favor of the insurer.

On Monday, J&S Oil Co. President John L. Babb said, “We will not be making any further comments other than to say we were disappointed in the judge’s view of the case and are contemplating an appeal.”

The oil spill itself brought a complaint from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which penalized the firm $22,500 on the grounds that it “failed to maintain and implement an adequate Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan” in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Babb previously said that the company had complied with regulations and had a certified spill prevention plan in place that was followed in the incident.

EPA officials countered by saying the firm lacked a secondary containment system, and the oil got off site.

In Manchester, the company has a car wash, oil change service station and an oil tanker truck depot.

J&S also has facilities in Augusta, Winslow and Waterville among other locations in Maine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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