Total to appeal oil spill ruling in supreme court
* France's court of final appeal to rule within a year
* Total found guilty in 2008 for damage caused by oil spill
PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) - Oil giant Total (TOTF.PA) on Tuesday said it would appeal in the French supreme court a decision by the appeals court last week upholding key elements of a verdict against the firm over a disastrous 1999 oil spill.
France's court of final appeal for civil and criminal matters will make a final ruling within a year.
Total was found guilty in 2008 for the damage caused when the Erika, an ageing oil tanker it had chartered, broke apart and sank in a winter storm off Brittany in 1999, spilling 20,000 tonnes of crude oil.
An oil slick covered 400 km (250 miles) of French coastline, killing thousands of birds and marine animals.
The appeals court judgment confirmed the criminal responsibility of Total, which was fined 375,000 euros ($502,900) in the first case, as well as that of three other defendants, who were also fined.
The appeals court ruling also upheld the legal notion that damage to the general environment is on a par with economic harm to individuals or corporations for which companies must pay compensation. (Reporting by Noelle Mennella; writing by Muriel Boselli; editing by James Jukwey)
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