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Archive for June 25th, 2008

For ExxonMobil, delay saves big bucks in Valdez spill

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Nearly two decades after the Exxon Valdez ran around on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, the U.S. Supreme Court has taught Exxon (now ExxonMobil) and corporations everywhere a lesson:

Don’t pay off legal judgments. Stall, stall, stall for 19 years.

Courts have held that Exxon must pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages for spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil that soiled 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline. In 1994 a jury found Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood and Exxon to be reckless. Hazelwood, who had been drinking before the single-hulled tanker hit the reef, had left the bridge as the vessel faced a difficult turn. The jury awarded $287 million in compensatory damages and originally $5 billion in punitive damages (later halved by another court).

But Exxon shouldn’t have worried. The business-tilted Court whacked the already-reduced $2.5 billion by four-fifths.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized