WATCHING GOVERNMENT: High-stakes appeal

02/11/2008
The US Supreme Court moved one step closer to addressing a $2.5 billion question this term when it placed Exxon Shipping Co. vs. Baker on its docket on Feb. 1 and scheduled arguments for Feb. 27.The case stems from the Mar. 24, 1989, grounding of the tanker Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, which discharged more than 11 million gal of oil into Alaskan coastal waters.More than 250 lawsuits by area fishermen, processors, Alaska Natives, landowners, businesses, and others were consolidated into a single action. A jury awarded plaintiffs $297 million of compensatory damages and $5 billion of punitive damages following a 4-month trial in 1994.ExxonMobil Corp. appealed the punitive damages ...
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