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Justices Assess Financial Damages In Exxon Valdez Case

Publication Date: 
February 28, 2008
Source: 
The Washington Post
Author: 
Robert Barnes

The Washington Post reports on the Exxon Valdez hearing in the Supreme Court, and quotes Jeffrey Fisher who argued the case on behalf of Alaskans:

Roberts said Hazelwood violated Exxon corporate policy that night both by drinking and by his actions on the ship. "So what can a corporation do to protect itself against punitive damages awards such as this?" Roberts asked Jeffrey L. Fisher, a lawyer and Stanford law professor representing the plaintiffs.

Fisher replied that Exxon had a "paper" policy but did not follow it. Despite years of evidence that Hazelwood was drinking again, Fisher said, Exxon kept him in place, "putting a drunken master in charge of a supertanker."

...

But Fisher said Exxon had not learned a lesson from the disaster; Hazelwood was fired, and "everybody else . . . further up the chain of command who allowed this to happen received bonuses and raises."

Fisher closed: "What you have today are 32,000 plaintiffs standing before this court, each of whom have received only $15,000 for having their lives and livelihood destroyed, and haven't received a dime of emotional distress damages."