Meanwhile, Exxon appealed the ruling, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the original judge, Russell Holland, to reduce the punitive damages. On December 6, 2002, the judge announced that he had reduced the damages to $4 billion, which he concluded was justified by the facts of the case and was not grossly excessive. Exxon appealed again and the case returned to court to be considered in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling in a similar case, which caused Judge Holland to increase the punitive damages to $4.5 billion, plus interest.
After more appeals, and oral arguments heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on January 27, 2006, the damages award was cut to $2.5 billion on December 22, 2006. The court cited recent Supreme Court rulings relative to limits on punitive damages.
Exxon appealed again. On May 23, 2007, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Exxon Mobil's request for a third hearing and let stand its ruling that Exxon owes $2.5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon then appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. On February 27, 2008, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 90 minutes. Justice Samuel Alito, who at the time, owned between $100,000 and $250,000 in Exxon stock, excused himself from the case. In a decision issued June 25, 2008, Justice David Souter issued the judgment of the court, vacating the $2.5 billion award and remanding the case back to a lower court, finding that the damages were excessive with respect to maritime common law. Exxon's actions were deemed "worse than negligent but less than malicious."
In 1998 Exxon and Mobil complete their $83 billion merger, forming Exxon Mobil Corporation. Cost savings from the merger are tallied at $4.6 billion.
The bottom line here folks is that 20 years after an Exxon ship spilled millions of gallons of oil into the ocean. They have averaged close to 25-30 billion dollars a year in profits.
To date, Exxon has only paid out less than $300 million dollars for actual damages to 11,000 individuals and businesses in Alaska and not a dime for punitive damages, after spending 20 years appealing their case all the way to the US Supreme Court and dishing out God knows how much in attorney fees during the process.
The point is that the oil spill in the
Bottom line…BP will fight tooth and nail with residents, businesses and even the Federal Government when damages and clean-up costs are evaluated and attempted to be collected from their company!
It’s all about the money!