Delegation supports Exxon case plaintiffs

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008

JUNEAU - Alaska's congressional delegation said it has filed a court brief supporting Exxon Valdez plaintiffs in a cases to be heard next month by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens and U.S. Rep Don Young filed the brief Friday.

The Exxon Valdez tanker hit a reef in Prince William Sound in 1989 and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil.

Exxon has been appealing the case since an Anchorage jury in 1994 returned a $5 billion punitive damages award against it. In 2006, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cut the award to $2.5 billion. That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court by Exxon.

The company maintains punitive damages are excessive.

But the delegation said the punitive damages are legally protected under maritime law and the Clean Water Act.

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