Judge grants stay in oil spill case because of government shutdown

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A judge has granted a federal prosecutor's request to stay proceedings in a lawsuit over the ExxonMobil oil spill in Mayflower.

{}U.S. District Judge James Moody on Thursday granted the request for a stay in the case because of the partial government shutdown.

{}Prosecutors said in a court document Wednesday that most attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were unable to work on the case, even on a voluntary basis, because of the lapse in federal funding.

{}Attorneys for Exxon didn't oppose the stay.

{}The lawsuit filed jointly by federal prosecutors and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel seeks civil penalties for the oil spill in a Mayflower subdivision. Exxon's Pegasus pipeline ruptured in March, spilling thousands of barrels of oil into the neighborhood.