The Supreme Court has grant cert to hear the Exxon Valdez cse and to agree whether Exxon Mobil should have to pay any punitive damages for the 1989 disaster that fouled 1,200 miles of pristine Alaskan shoreline. A federal appeals court already cut in half the $5 billion in damages awarded by a jury in 1994. It will be only the latest foray of the Supreme Court into the subject of punitive damages.
Once viewed as the proper domain of state courts, the Supreme Court relatively recently began to curtail awards — enforcing a rough proportionality between compensatory and punitive damages.
With Sam Alito on the Court, this is now a very friendly court for business defendants like Exxon. For the full story, click here