Once-reduced judgment will stand, U.S. justices decide

By John O'Brien | Apr 22, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday stopped the carving of a punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil Corp., but a much more costly decision remains.

The High Court's justices declined to hear Exxon's appeal of a $112 million award that was once much larger. Plaintiffs in Louisiana claimed Exxon contaminated land in Harvey with radioactive materials.

Still pending before the Court is Exxon's appeal of a $2.5 billion punitive awards judgment stemming from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska.

Several state attorneys general, including Washington's Rob McKenna, have urged the Court not to change the award.

The Louisiana judgment was to originally cost Exxon $1 billion, but the amount was lowered because of its excessiveness.

Exxon was ordered to pay $56 million in cleanup costs. The Supreme Court did not release the results of the voting, only saying that Justice Sam Alito did not participate.

In November, the Alabama Supreme Court cut a $3.5 billion punitive damages award by almost $3 billion.

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