Justices Assess Financial Damages In Exxon Valdez Case
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."