Court Rejects $4 Billion Damage Award for Exxon Valdez Spill

A federal appeals court has once again rejected a multibillion-dollar punitive damage award against the company responsible for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil-tanker spill in Alaska. Now thousands of Alaskan fishers, Natives, and others whose lives and livelihoods were disrupted by the disaster will have to wait even longer to collect damage payments — if the payments come at all. Last week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Judge H. Russel Holland to reconsider the decision he made last year to force ExxonMobil Corp. to pay $4 billion as punishment for the spill. Previously, the 9th Circuit Court had overturned a $5 billion damage award ordered by an Alaskan jury, claiming that it was “excessive.” ExxonMobil argues that it should pay no more than $25 million in damages. “A lot of people say if they live long enough to see a dime, they’ll be lucky,” said Alaskan Jerry McCune, president of Cordova District Fishermen United.