Exxon Whines to Supremes
October 30, 2007 12:19 PM Subscribe
posted by Kirth Gerson (56 comments total)
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On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef
in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill was the largest in U.S. history and tested the abilities of local, national, and industrial organizations to prepare for, and respond to, a disaster of such magnitude.
Oil from the massive spill, which coated 1,200 miles of Alaskan coast, continues to threaten the damaged ecosystem
there, long after experts believed it would dissipate.
Facing a $5 billion damage award, Exxon appealed, and won reductions
to $4.5B, then $2.5B. It was still too much, the company argued.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Exxon's appeal
. Justice Alito has recused himself. The best outcome for business ``would be a decision that cuts this award down to a million or two, or some modest amount, on the grounds that nothing more than that is necessary or appropriate,' said Tager, a lawyer at Mayer Brown in Washington. ``That would have broader ramifications beyond the maritime context.'
The court under Chief Justice John Roberts has issued a series of business victories in the last two years. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the most recent term, which concluded in June, the best in decades.