The Supreme Court lessened the damages in the case of the Exxon Valdez. The article is in the front of the Times today.
"Justice David H. Souter, writing for the majority in the 5-to-3 decision, said a ratio between the two sorts of damages of no more than one-to-one was generally appropriate, at least in maritime cases."
Just meaning that what they pay in settlement should equal what they pay in punitive damages. People up in Alaska will be payed another $15,000 pretty soon -- that's less than $1,000 a year.
I've been away for the last few days but still keeping up with my task... I heard on NPR the other day the average driver in CT has paid $1,500 in gas since February. At that rate the settlement will pay for the claimees' gas for a little over two years.
In good news from the court, "Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. owns Exxon stock and did not participate in the decision. As a consequence, the court split 4-to-4 on a separate question, whether Exxon may be held accountable for Mr. Hazelwood’s recklessness. The effect of the split was to leave intact the ruling of the lower court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which said Exxon might be held responsible."
"Justice John Paul Stevens, in a dissent, said he would have upheld the punitive damages award, which the federal appeals court in California had reduced to $2.5 billion.
“In light of Exxon’s decision to permit a lapsed alcoholic to command a supertanker carrying tens of millions of gallons of crude oil though the treacherous waters of Prince William Sound, thereby endangering all of the individuals who depended upon the sound for their livelihoods,” Justice Stevens wrote, “the jury could reasonably have given expression to its moral condemnation of Exxon’s conduct in the form of this award.”