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Supreme Court Reduces Exxon Damages Judgment in Valdez Case

June 30, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 25, struck down a $2.5 billion punitive damages judgment against Exxon for its role in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska. 

The high court ruled that punitive damages should roughly equal actual damages from the accident, which totaled about $507 million, CNN reported.

After the accident, which spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil, a class-action suit against Exxon was filed by nearly 33,000 plaintiffs, including fishermen, property owners, local governments and Native Americans. A jury in 1994 awarded $5 billion in the case, but a federal court later cut that amount in half. The issue before the U.S. Supreme Court was whether the judgement was still too high, based on past precedents on punitive awards.

Today, the company is known as Exxon Mobil.

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