In the summer of 1994 an Alaska jury awarded $5 billion in punitive damages against Exxon in favor of Alaska fishermen injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Glacier Bay. The case had been tried on behalf of the plaintiff fishermen by attorneys with the Minneapolis law firm of Faegre & Benson, most notably Faegre partners Brian O’Neill and (Power Line reader) Jerry Nolting.
Fourteen years after the spill, nine years after the verdict, Exxon still has the money. I’m not a big fan of punitive damage awards, but the evidence in the case was egregious. David Lebedoff’s book Cleaning Up provides a good if premature account of the case.
Today Reuters reports that Jerry and the gang are headed back to Anchorage for the verdict’s third or fourth review by Judge Holland: “Court orders Valdez award reviewed.”
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