Exxon Valdez Disaster

Members of the firm represented fishing interests, Alaskan municipal governments and landowners who suffered extensive damages in the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. The firm assumed a leadership role in the case with N. Robert Stoll serving on the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee and as Treasurer of the Plaintiffs' Litigation Fund.

In addition, Mr. Stoll served as lead trial counsel for Plaintiffs in the case tried in state court, and the members of the firm were involved extensively in trial and appellate briefing in federal and Alaska state court.

The case ultimately resulted in a jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs for $5 billion in punitive damages, approximately $287 million in compensatory damages verdict and hundreds of millions in settlements. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reduced the punitive damages verdict to $2.5 billion.

On June 25, 2008, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Exxon's appeal of the punitive damage award arising out of the March 24, 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster. More than 19 years after Exxon's disastrous spill, we are disappointed in that court's decision, which results in a 90% reduction of the $5 billion award issued by the jury that heard the extensive evidence of Exxon's egregious misconduct during a four-month long trial fourteen years ago.

Thousands of Alaskans were devastated by a corporation which was not concerned about putting a known alcoholic at the wheel of a 950-foot long single-hulled tanker, in dangerous waters in a pristine and highly environmentally-sensitive area, loaded with 53,000 gallons of crude oil.

                                          Picture courtesy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council