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Exxon Spill Revisited At High Court

Publication Date: 
February 25, 2008
USA Today
Joan Biskupic

Professor Jeffrey Fisher is quoted in USA Today about the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster that occurred 19 years ago. The case is being revisited by the Supreme Court:

Stanford University law professor Jeffrey Fisher, representing the Alaskans trying to preserve the award, has sought to distinguish the Exxon disaster from any other shipwrecks: "The jury found that the corporation, not just the employee, was reckless in giving command of an oil tanker to a relapsed alcoholic," he said in his brief.

Fisher said the Alaskan plaintiffs won about $76,000 each in punitive damages — just under five times the average actual damages for their economic harm, an amount Fisher said was proportionate and appropriate. He added that since the jury trial in 1994, about a fifth of the fishermen and landowners involved have died, and hundreds have gone bankrupt.