Judgment slashed in Exxon Valdez disaster

June 26, 2008


The Supreme Court on Wednesday slashed the $2.5 billion punitive damages award in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to $500 million.

The court ruled that victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history may collect punitive damages from Exxon Mobil Corp., but not as much as a federal appeals court determined.

Justice David Souter wrote for the court that punitive damages may not exceed what the company already paid to compensate victims for economic losses, about $500 million compensation.

The Exxon Valdez case involves reckless action that was "profitless" for the company and that has already resulted in substantial recovery for substantial injury, Souter wrote.

A penalty should be "reasonably predictable" in its severity, he added.

Exxon asked the high court to reject the punitive damages judgment, saying it already has spent $3.4 billion in response to the accident that fouled 1,200 miles of Alaska coastline.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 12 months ago

If you have enough money to buy off the court system, crime does pay.

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