Believe it or not, ExxonMobil Corp. suffered a defeat in the U.S. Supreme Court last month. The justices refused to consider an appeal by the oil giant of a $112 million damage award in an environmental lawsuit. The court’s decision, without comment, effectively ends that litigation. The case began in 1997 when former Louisiana judge Joseph Grefer and his family sued Exxon, alleging that a contractor had contaminated the family’s land with radioactive waste. A contractor had cleaned pipes for ExxonMobil and other oil companies and left the waste, which occurs naturally as a result of oil and gas production, on the property. Fortunately for them, none of the Grefers became ill from the waste.
The Grefers were initially awarded $1 billion in punitive damages and $56 million in compensatory damages by a Louisiana jury. The Louisiana appeals court ultimately reduced the punitive award to $112 million. Lawyers for the Grefers urged the Court to reject Exxon’s appeal. The company already had paid the compensatory damage award and ExxonMobil was contesting the punitive aspect. While this defeat for the powerful oil giant is not the greatest thing to have happened recently, at least it’s a victory for justice!
Source: Associated Press
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