And so it goes on….Exxon is making a final appeal for a review of a court decision ordering it to pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.
Exxon has been belligerently battling the judgement for over a decade. The company has managed to get the award cut in half from the original $5 billion awarded in 1994 by an Anchorage jury to the plaintiffs in the class-action suit stemming from the nearly 11 million-gallon crude oil spill in Prince William Sound.
It has now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lower court’s ruling. Four of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices must vote in favor of granting Exxon’s petition for the case to proceed further.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs have said that roughly 20 percent of their clients have died during the lawsuit. The living plaintiffs include about 33,000 commercial fishermen, cannery workers, landowners, Natives, local governments and businesses.
Plaintiffs said the issuers raised by Exxon have already been argued to death in court. “This case has no constitutional merit. It’s just about money and award levels that have been hashed and rehashed ad nauseam,” said Frank Mullen, a Homer salmon gillnetter and plaintiff in the case. “One way or another, this thing is going to be done in 2008,” Mullen said, noting that the Supreme Court has until the end of the year to respond to Exxon’s petition.