US Supreme Court today (Tuesday) declined to rule on the issue of whether
plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case should receive interest on top of
their already reduced punitive damages from the 1989 spill that fouled
thousands of miles of Alaska’s coastline from Prince William Sound to Kodiak
and beyond. KMXT’s Casey Kelly has more.
court decided, “without prejudice,” to send the issue back the 9th
Circuit Court to decide. Andrew Ott is a plaintiffs’ attorney with Jamin,
Schmitt, St. John in Kodiak. He says the decision by the high court was not
Interest 1 :31s “…interest
issue on first impression.”)
Supreme Court ruled in June that punitive damages should be no greater than
compensatory damages, which plaintiffs have already received. That works out to
be about 507.5 million dollars, one-tenth of the original jury award in 1994.
Plaintiffs had been seeking an interest rate of 5.9 percent from September 24,
1996, which would have added an additional 488-million onto the award.
Ott says he
expects the 9th Circuit Court to add the interest. Unfortunately
that opens up the possibility of more appeals by Exxon.
Interest 2 :11s “…is
gonna do that… who knows?”)
says it’s frustrating, considering that the case has lingered in the courts for
nearly two decades already.
Interest 3 :14s “…bounce
back to the 9th Circuit.”)
Stosh Anderson, a fisherman and plaintiff in the case, the Supreme Court’s
action means more uncertainty.
Interest 4 :20s “…so
they don’t have to pay.”)
says the spill continues to impact thousands of lives in coastal Alaska, and
it’s hard to see a resolution coming to the case anytime soon.
Interest 5 :24s “…if
I’ll be alive to see it.”)
Circuit Court, based in San Francisco, decided in 2006 that Exxon should have
to pay 2.5 billion dollars in punitive damages. Ott says the court’s decision
in the interest case could be issued in as soon as 30 days.