ExxonMobil Filed Arguments in Valdez Case

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ExxonMobil Filed Arguments in Valdez Case

IRVING, Texas -- ExxonMobil Corp. filed its arguments in the Exxon Valdez spill case before the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

Over the weekend, plaintiffs in the case met with attorneys in Kodiak, Alaska, the report stated. The Kodiak plaintiffs' attorney, Matt Jamin, told the paper he planned to update his clients on the case.

The 19-year-old case will reach a conclusion with oral arguments before the court in late February, with more filings due Dec. 27, the report stated.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to award plaintiffs a $2.5 billion settlement in punitive damages. U.S. District Judge H. Russell Holland of Anchorage set the $2.5 billion in punitive damages after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, located in San Francisco, ruled the original $5 billion was excessive. The Supreme Court will decide the ratio between punitive damage and compensatory damage amounts, Jamin told the paper.

There are an estimated 30,000 claimants in the Exxon case, 20 percent of which are no longer living. Plaintiffs in the case include commercial fishermen, cannery workers, landowners, residents, local governments and businesses such as fish processors, according to the report.

The case stemmed from an incident on March 14, 1989, where the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground on Bligh Reef in the Prince William Sound, and spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil along Alaska shores, the report stated.