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At Issue in 'Exxon' Case: How Decisive Is Stare Decisis?

Publication Date: 
March 04, 2008
Legal Times
Tony Mauro

The Legal Times Professor Jeffrey Fisher is reported to be the plaintiffs' attorney in the Exxon Valdez currently being argued in front of the Supreme Court.

Legal Times' Tony Mauro wrote an article describing the Exxon Valdez hearing before the Supreme Court:

Breyer cited Sand to Jeffrey Fisher, a Stanford Law School professor who argued on behalf of the Alaska plaintiffs seeking to preserve the damage award. Fisher replied to Breyer's views in several ways. He said that Amiable Nancy [the name of the ship in the 1818 decision] did not involve wrongdoing by a captain, so was not a decisive precedent. He also argued that "a spattering of a few old decisions" should not bind the Court to adhering to the case anyway. "You have a fairly open issue before you today." It was for that reason, Fisher speculated, that the Court had taken up the Exxon case in the first place.


Upon the defending attorney's statement that Exxon had been punished enough, Tony Mauro writes:

Fisher countered that Exxon Mobil in fact "has not been deterred" by all that has followed from the oil spill. Capt. Joseph Hazelwood is the only person the company fired, he said, while others further up the chain of command received raises and bonuses.