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NH case against 2 big oil companies gets under way

Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The first day of trial in a huge pollution lawsuit ended with lawyers for the state of New Hampshire and two big oil companies accusing the other of misleading jurors in opening statements.

Citgo's lawyer, Nathan Eimer, (EYE-mer) demanded a mistrial Monday, saying the state's lawyer used what he described as a fabricated document in arguing that the company knew the groundwater contamination potential of the gasoline additive MTBE.

Eimer also argued that attorney Jessica Grant, representing the state, spent 10 minutes disparaging a defense witness who's not even on their witness list.

Grant countered that the opening statement by ExxonMobil attorney James Quinn was rife with falsehoods.

The judge denied Citgo's motion for a mistrial, but said he would consider giving jurors a special instruction when court resumes Tuesday.