Supremes Will Rule on Exxon Valdez Appeal

Record damage award in 1989 disaster washes up in Washington
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2007 6:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court will end more than a decade of legal battles over the Exxon Valdez oil spill and review a ruling that awarded a record $2.5 billion in punitive damages in the case. Exxon is hoping the court will throw out or reduce the amount awarded in the wake of the worst spill in US history, Reuters reports.

Exxon argues the fines should be thrown out because it spent $3.4 billion cleaning up after the 1989 disaster and because the tanker's captain disobeyed orders. Plaintiffs say the company knew the captain was drinking on the job and that $2.5 billion is pocket change for Exxon, which originally found itself on the hook for a $5 billion decision.