Only 20 years later, victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill ecological disaster start getting some $$ in restitution.
Per the Anchorage Daily News:
Exxon Valdez spill payments reach claimants
Although less than hoped for, plaintiffs begin to receive share of $383 million in damages.
By WESLEY LOY
The millions of dollars Exxon Mobil Corp. has surrendered as punishment for the Prince William Sound oil spill have started hitting the streets, nearly 20 years after the disaster.
Several commercial fishermen who joined in the lawsuit against Exxon reported receiving direct deposits in their bank accounts Monday. Paper checks are expected to go out in the mail in the next week.
The payments mark the beginning of a process to distribute $383 million among nearly 33,000 commercial fishermen and other plaintiffs.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs and Exxon continue to battle in court over whether the oil company owes interest on the punitive damages award. If so, the interest could roughly double the total payout.
Exxon long held that it didn't owe punitive damages, arguing it already had spent $3.4 billion as a result of the spill including compensatory payments, cleanup payments, settlements and fines.
Over the summer, however, the U.S. Supreme Court said the company owed up to $507.5 million in punitive damages.
An Anchorage jury originally decided in 1994 that Exxon owed $5 billion for the 11-million-gallon oil spill, which disrupted many of the state's commercial fisheries and sullied miles of beaches. Over many years, however, Exxon's lawyers succeeded in whittling down the amount to a fraction of the jury award."
Everybody's very disgusted because of the process and the whacking we got from Exxon and the Supreme Court," Mullen said. "Nobody's thrilled, but nobody's going to send the check back, either."
In recent weeks, lawyers for the plaintiffs filed long lists in court specifying the amount to be paid to each claimant. Most of the amounts range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, but some exceed $100,000.
Lawyers will deduct about 22 percent from each payment as compensation for pressing the epic class action against Exxon.
Well, well, well.
That seems fair, don't you think? Typically the barristers would be demanding 50% . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moved to Vancouver)