Ten years ago, Buttonwillow cotton grower Fred Starrh first filed suit against Aera Energy for polluting his groundwater.
Next Tuesday, Starrh is taking Aera back to court for round four.
This time it's for punitive damages.
Starrh sued Aera in 2003, claiming the company knowingly and maliciously allowed production wastewater from its Belridge oilfield to seep underground and into the groundwater that irrigates his cotton fields.
Starrh was awarded nearly $8 million in general damages in 2004.
But in 2009, an appellate court ordered Kern County Superior Court to address punitive damages, and now Starrh is looking to punish Aera for its conduct.
"The pubic purpose of punitive damages is that the public protects itself by punishing someone for conducting themself that way, and in that punishment to deter them and others from similar conduct," said Ralph Wegis, Starrh's attorney.
Aera did not return our calls for comment.
Opening statements in the case are slated for Tuesday.