Admiralty & Maritime Law

High Court to Consider $2.5B Exxon Valdez Award


The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether maritime law permits a $2.5 billion punitive damages award against Exxon for the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Exxon’s cert petition (PDF posted by SCOTUSblog) had claimed the award was excessive both under maritime law and constitutional due process protections, ABAJournal.com noted in a prior post. But the court declined to consider the constitutional issue, SCOTUSblog reports.

A federal appeals court had cut the award in half from an initial $5 billion. The high court refused a cross-appeal seeking to reinstate the initial verdict, according to SCOTUSblog. The lower award is still the highest ever approved by a federal appellate court, the Associated Press reports.

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