A jury found the oil major liable for concealing knowledge that led to a mechanic’s cancer diagnosis. Lawyers say it’s part of a bigger story playing out.

ExxonMobil must pay $725.5 million in compensatory damages to a former mechanic who attributed his cancer diagnosis to years of benzene exposure from Exxon’s products, a Philadelphia jury has decided.

During a week-long trial, former mechanic Paul Gill told the jury his cancer stemmed from handling benzene-laden gasoline and solvents at the Exxon service station where he worked between 1975 and 1980. For more than half a century, Exxon was aware that benzene could cause cancer — but concealed that knowledge from workers and the public in order to protect its profits, his attorneys argued.

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