A punitive damage award in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case that once amounted to $5 billion was knocked down to $507.5 million by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Even though the ruling was based on maritime law, a unique branch of federal common law, the majority opinion by Justice David Souter was full of concern about unpredictable "outlier" verdicts against corporations. "The real problem, it appears, is the stark unpredictability of punitive awards," Souter wrote.
Supreme Court Reduces Damages Awarded in Exxon Case
June 26, 2008