Happy Christmas Alaska. Exxon’s present to those desperate for compensation from the Exxon Valdez oil spill is its new defence in the U.S. Supreme Court that the $2.5 billion verdict the company was ordered to pay conflicts with more than 200 years of maritime law.
Exxon is now arguing that trial and appellate courts erred in blaming the company for the actions of its ship captain in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Prince William Sound and spilled nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil.
The company will also argue that it was punished enough, said Exxon spokesman Tony Cudmore, and that the multibillion-dollar punitive damages award — one of the largest ever against an American corporation — was excessive.
“The company has spent over $3.5 billion on compensation, cleanup payments, settlements and fines. It’s a case about whether further punishment is warranted, and we do not believe that punitive damages are warranted in this case,” Cudmore said.
More than a dozen business groups and shipping associations, such as American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have now filed friend-of-the-court briefs on Exxon’s behalf.
Its good to know who your friends are, especially at Christmas time.