Part of the punitive damages awarded to Plaintiffs in the nation’s worst oil spill will be paid to Alaska fishermen and other Plaintiffs, by ExxonMobil. A settlement was reached in the Exxon Valdez case which means about $383 million will be released by Exxon. Under the agreement, the money will be distributed to nearly 33,000 commercial fishermen and others who sued Exxon after the 1989 oil spill. ExxonMobil was able to get the Plaintiffs’ lawyers to agree on the company’s offer to pay the punitive damages awarded by the Supreme Court on June 25th, less certain costs and amounts relating to earlier settlements with former Plaintiffs. The agreed-upon amount with the Plaintiffs is approximately $383.4 million.
David Oesting of Anchorage, the lead lawyer for the Plaintiffs, told the Anchorage Daily News he and lawyers for Exxon negotiated the settlement. Lawyers will continue to negotiate over $70 million and nearly a half billion dollars in interest. Fishermen and other Plaintiffs should see checks coming in beginning this month. Interest calculated since 1994 would add an estimated $488 million, boosting awards to individuals from roughly $15,000 to about $29,400. Of course, Exxon contends it does not have to pay interest. Frank Mullen, a Homer, Alaska, commercial fisherman, had this to say concerning the payments: “It’s a damn small bone for an old, angry dog is what it is.” History will record this legislation as a tremendous victory for Exxon and a bitter loss for lots of folks who were its victims.
Source: Anchorage Daily News
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