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Legal Complications Grow As Gulf Oil Spill Expands

Publication Date: 
May 12, 2010
Source: 
NPR - All Things Considered
Author: 
Yuki Noguchi

Professor Jeffrey Fisher, who argued a case in the Supreme Court on behalf of Exxon Valdez plaintiffs, is quoted in this article on the legal complications of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Yuki Noguchi of NPR's All Things Considered reports:

As the companies involved in the construction, leasing and operation of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig try to pin blame on one another for the explosion and subsequent spill, the litigation resulting from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico also keeps getting messier.

BP, Transocean, Halliburton, Cameron and others already face dozens of potential class action lawsuits. The legal spectacle resulting from this spill could spread as wide and as deep as the slick itself.

...

Jeffrey Fisher, a law professor at Stanford, argued a case in the Supreme Court on behalf of Exxon Valdez plaintiffs trying to collect higher punitive damages from the company. After nearly two decades of fighting, his side lost. He says many of those plaintiffs felt they ended up losing much more — their environment and their livelihoods — than they reclaimed from Exxon.

"Even if you end up getting money in the end, it's all too frequently too little, too late," Fisher says. "Maritime law is actually quite stingy when it comes to making plaintiffs whole in ways that go beyond hard financial damages."