States Supreme Court this morning reduced the amount of punitive damages Exxon
Mobil must pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Instead of the 2.5 billion
dollars that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the company
should pay in 2006, the high court set the amount at 507.5 million
dollars--equal to the compensatory damages victims of the spill have already
was divided 5-3 on the decision. Justice David Souter wrote in the majority
opinion that the court believed, “the punitive damages award against Exxon was
excessive as a matter of maritime common law.” Justice Samuel Alito didn’t take
part in the decision, because he owns stock in Exxon Mobil.
attorney Matt Jamin, who represents plaintiffs in the case, called the decision
“A terrible blow to the people of Alaska.” He said he expects the award to
include interest and believes it will be three months before any money will be
available to the victims.
David Oesting (ess-ting), another one of the attorneys
who represented the 32 and a half thousand fishermen, workers and other damaged
parties, said the court seemed to confine itself to technicalities rather than
looking at what was just for the plaintiffs
Oesting 18 sec Out-cue: ][and its uh citizens were
Jacobs, a Kodiak salmon fisherman at the time of the oil spill, said this
morning the decision was “disappointing” and said she had hoped the court would
at least keep the damages above a billion dollars.
Governor Sarah Palin said she was disappointed with the Supreme Court’s
decision – and she’s sad for the people in the communities who had counted on
the damages that had been awarded by the jury in the case. She says Alaskans
had anticipated better treatment.
-- (EVOS Palin 30
jurors just understood that “)
the state will have to assess if it can do anything further as people work
through the disappointment with the decision.
Senator Lisa Murkowski criticized the high court’s slashing of the damage
Murkowski 30 sec “… environmental disaster in our
More than 32-thousand victims of
the spill will divide the settlement. The original punitive damages amount of
5-billion dollars was set by an Anchorage jury in 1994, and cut in half by the
9th Circuit in 2006.
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