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(SFGate)   Exxon can get away with anything - Valdez punitive damage award overturned   ( divider line
    More: Asinine  
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1658 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Nov 2001 at 10:09 AM (16 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

48 Comments     (+0 »)
2001-11-08 10:11:32 AM  
Hmm... they're in the oil industry... Who, oh WHO could they be appealing to in power that has ties to the oil industry?
2001-11-08 10:13:48 AM  
This is sickening by the way.
2001-11-08 10:20:20 AM  
Hey, let's not be unpatriotic here! This and the Microsoft settlement shows the world that America still has the best justice that money can buy.
2001-11-08 10:25:42 AM  
it really is sickening.. I'm not for over regulation, but the Valdez was a horrible tradgedy due to gross incompotence. Exxon deserves to pay.
2001-11-08 10:30:06 AM  
'...The amount was equal to a year's worth of Exxon's profits. '
"We no longer can make a living commercial fishing," said Kopchak, whose herring fishing operation is now defunct.

I guess the fishermen didn't lose a year of profits when he was forced out of business? A company needs to be held responsible for it's employees, just like a parent for its children. I do think 5 billion may be a little excesive for punitive damages, but Exxon should have to contribute the balance of the original punitive award to clean and restore affected areas.
2001-11-08 10:36:47 AM  
I'm suprised more oil tankers dont crash. Their must be hundreds per day to the US (not to mention rest of the world). You'd think this would happen every few hours.
2001-11-08 10:44:59 AM  
Punative damages should be done away with. Period. Punishment is a matter for the criminal system, with the standard of proof being guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The civil system is designed so that people who have been harmed can be compensated and made whole.

If the fishermen have not been made whole, Exxon should pay to finish repairing the damage and to compensate those who have lost money during the period. If that's a five billion, or a fifty billion dollar charge, that's what should be done. But if the goal is to punish, to teach a lesson, that is a criminal matter.
2001-11-08 10:47:40 AM  
Nope, Libertarian, not all Oil Companies show their gross incompetence in the same way Exxon does.

Guess they are all too busy bribing whoever happens to be in the White House, to be crashing tankers.
2001-11-08 10:48:25 AM  
For those of you so sure that this is because of Bush and his ties to oil, maybe you should take the time to find out who the judges were that decided this:

Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder - Appointed by Carter
Judge James R. Browning - Appointed by Kennedy
Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld - Appointed by Bush Sr.

Two of the three appointed by Democrats . You don't suppose they actually decided this case based on its merits? I choose to believe that our judges actually do this sometimes.
2001-11-08 10:49:59 AM  
true GD: ending punitive damages would help eliminate "winning the lottery" mentality that many people take to court with them when they have been wronged.

Still, i would be surprised if Exxon even paid a dime. seems easy enough for exxon: wait til "our guys" get into the gov't and then we'll just forget about this payment thing. Paying for cleanup isn't quite enough.
2001-11-08 10:50:17 AM  
I say fark Exxon and fark you.
2001-11-08 10:51:15 AM  
Exxon, which later merged with Mobil, argued that it shouldn't have to pay any punitive damages. The oil giant said it learned its lesson and spent more than $3 billion cleaning up the Prince William Sound area and to settle federal and state lawsuits.

We are suppose to be grateful that they decided to clean-up their mess, albeit half-assed? If the oil companies didn't control the government, our politicians would be outraged!
2001-11-08 10:52:03 AM  
I don't like the new Asinine tag.
2001-11-08 10:55:24 AM  
Judge Andrew Kleinfeld

Court: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Appointed by: President Bush, 1991

With Dubya in office, did anyone doubt this would happen?
2001-11-08 10:57:44 AM  
Grimes, do you think that Bush's big oil connections had anything to do with this?
2001-11-08 11:00:20 AM  
Frank_Grimes: good point, but just because they were appointed by dems, doesn't mean they weren't confirmed by reps. "i'll give you a conservative appeals judge if you give me a liberal whatever"

No way of knowing w/o seeing their record.
2001-11-08 11:01:46 AM  
Hey _grimes, Ike appointed Earl Warren. Judges can change, especially after being appointed 40 years ago or 20 years ago. (I'm sure Kleinfled's always been a bastard.)

Also, There's no merit in supporting Exxon, ever.
2001-11-08 11:02:16 AM  
Gadget Don is right on the money here, no pun intended.

The objective should be to, insofar as possible, rectify the situation. I don't buy into Exxon's whining -- they haven't come near finishing the job of cleaning everything up.

On the flip side, I'm wondering how many people will be going "woo-hoo, YEAH!" and giving each other high fives if Exxon has to jack their prices up and/or cut a ton of jobs.

Hazelwood farked up, Exxon farked up. But does that mean everybody who works for Exxon/Mobil, not to mention their shareholders, should get bent over the barrel?

I guess that's what happens when we try to produce oil domestically.

Just trying to stir the pot a little...
2001-11-08 11:04:08 AM  
Good. The amount was excessive by all definitions.
2001-11-08 11:04:50 AM  
Freddiemiles1 -- glad to see that your thoughts are so well-reasoned and compassionate.
2001-11-08 11:11:51 AM  
Fewl - Oh yeah, those poor shareholders. Wonder if their stock's going to go up after this decision? Hmmmmmmmm.

And I would be glad if gas prices went up. I would be the farking gladest. Then, maybe people would think twice before buying SUVs that get 16mpg. Renewable resources, man. Dig it.
2001-11-08 11:13:50 AM  
Fewl... er yes it does. Exxon on top repairing needs to pay damages. If they need to jack up the price then fine. It was a business decision to use the cheapest crew/tankers. And now it backfired, but thats just factored into the cost saving they made using the cheapest transport method.

The shareholders and employees take the risk onboard when they join the company.
2001-11-08 11:14:11 AM  
FreddieMiles: You are correct about judges changing, Souter is another example of someone flipping the other way.

Part of my point is that these justices were not people appointed by W. in the last few months. You can not say that since Bush is president, every court decision will go his way.
2001-11-08 11:21:57 AM  
It's not fark, it's
2001-11-08 11:23:13 AM  
Since when did SUVs start getting 16mpg? More like 0.16mpg.
2001-11-08 11:23:52 AM  
An example of the little guy being farked by big coporations and the government.
2001-11-08 11:28:37 AM  
and that little guy is...
you guessed it,
[image from too old to be available]
2001-11-08 11:40:54 AM  
Actually, I'm not opposed to a fine being levied as well (and I mean a billion dollar fine). My disagreement is that the tort system shouldn't be levying fines.
2001-11-08 11:41:04 AM  
mmmm.... stallone meat.
2001-11-08 11:46:20 AM  
Ah, how I long for the electric/gas hybrid car that gets 60 miles per gallon...
2001-11-08 11:52:40 AM  
Fifth: isn't it called a Prius, and it's made by Toyota?

Does anyone really believe, ideology aside, that Exxon "got off" because there's an oil-money Republican in the White House? Yep, that's right, everyone from the trial judge on down sold their ethics down the river, yep, it's just that simple.

Ideologues hate to accept that the world is a whole lot more grey than black or white: it messes with their agenda.
2001-11-08 12:06:50 PM  
I wonder if any of you wankers have given up your cars? If not then shut your hypocritical holes.
2001-11-08 12:12:23 PM  
Flamebait -- real bright. Business decision? You mean they could have _trucked_ the oil out of Alaska? Or better yet, extended the pipleline from Valdez to Seattle or LA? Mmm hmm. That would have been cost-effective. I'm sure that's what Philipps 66 and BP do.
2001-11-08 12:43:39 PM  
Fewl: Is it too much to ask that their captains stay sober while piloting their tankers?
2001-11-08 12:50:20 PM  
No, of course not. Have you actually read what I wrote? It's the punitive damages that I have a problem with.
2001-11-08 12:57:09 PM  
They said they were sorry about the destruction of the coast of Alaska. You should have more sympathy, they lost a lot of money in oil there.
2001-11-08 01:01:09 PM  
I don't support the deciscion and think they should have been fined more, but come on. A president with a past in the oil industry doesn't mean that ITS A CONSPIRACY and that automaically everytime an oil related thing develops in the vicinity that W sends out a memo threatening to fire any one opposing them, thats ridiculous. Once again I say that if you don't like a corporation or corporations in general then convince the majority to boycott said companies. They only exist as long as people buy their gas. And as to the comments about using lesser means to get the oil to Alaska and the probable arguement over 'raping' the Alaskan lands by the evil, evil, practices of man, I say that anything that we can do to make the Middle East and its problems less important tp our nation should be undertaken. Hike oil production in the short term now, while developing alternative fuel sorces for the longterm.

"But thats just the ravings of a media/government controlled drone/patriot robot. Because if I don't agree with your ideals I'm EVIL."
2001-11-08 01:03:34 PM  
J77D -- LOL.

Zkm -- good post. I'm not sure how much it'll sink in though. 'CAUSE YOU'RE EVIL!! ;)
2001-11-08 01:13:20 PM  
<wingnut>This is yet another example of socialist thinking being rightly consigned to the dustbin of history. Exxon were punished enough by the loss of valuable oil; as a profit-making organization, it's in their financial interest to minimize oil loss. The magic of the invisible hand is sufficient to prevent environmental destruction.</wingnut>

Seriously, though, they hadn't paid a penny of the fine anyway. And if the guy who was elected had been made president, we'd be saying exactly the same things, 'cause Gore and his family have half a million dollars of stock in Occidental Petroleum.

And no, I don't have a farking car.
2001-11-08 02:18:56 PM  
Honda also has a very nice hybrid vehicle.

Once again Detroit is left in the dust.
2001-11-08 02:45:45 PM  
Why is this asinine? Why did Exon get punitive damages, where they guilty of gross neglicence that warranted punitive damages? Punitive = means punishment. How does a captain getting drunk and smashing up a tanker make exon guilty of gross neglicence? Exon agreed to pay for cleanup and they did. Only in america where you sue to get rich instead of working.
2001-11-08 03:47:36 PM  
Tlehr: That is a very interesting logic to remove responsibility from Exxon. How does a captain getting drunk and smashing up a tanker make Exxon guilty? Exxon hired him so when the put him behind the wheel they are telling the general public that he passed OUR "rigors" hiring standards. The general public says "we trust your hiring standards and will allow you to tank oil thur our waters" When said hiring standards and oversight of workers on the job allows a drunk captain to dump oil in the sound I think you would have no other choice than to call Exxon guilty of gross negligence. It is not like this guy jumped on a tanker one day and ran it aground, Exxon hired this man and in the trial it was shown that their was a history of drinking which Exxon did nothing about. That is why Exxon was found to have acted in a grossly negligent way.
I shed not one tear for companies taken to task for over-looking safty for the sake of profits. The fine was not to make someone rich, it was to get Exxon's attention to that fact that their actions(or inaction)will not be tolerated. Five Billion will really make you sit up and take notice.
2001-11-08 04:56:23 PM  
document.write("Fu" + "ck the oil industry. They are constantly getting away with murder and destruction. I am not surprised that the fishermen who lost their jobs didn't have to pay Exxon for their boats getting cleaned up. It just goes to show that justice is always available for those who can afford it");
2001-11-08 04:57:03 PM  
Damn filter.
2001-11-08 06:07:26 PM  
Here is a reason for punative damages.

Ford has a car that they discover after it is out on the market that in crash tests has a 15% of exploding in rear end collisions of over 20 MPH. Their bean counters determine that the odds are that 10 cars will have this type of accident per year and the cost to the company for settling each of these cases should be about $100,000. This comes to a total cost of $1 Million per year to not fix the problem, compared to the cost of $50 Million to recall all the vehicles and fix the feul tank problem.

So Ford decides not to recall the Pinto and people die in their cars because of their negligence. In such a case Ford should pay punitive damages because they made a concious and reckless choice that placed their customers in danger, and the whole reason was to make a couple of extra bucks.
2001-11-08 07:15:02 PM  
That Pinto comparison was really reaching CA.
2001-11-08 09:00:35 PM  
Code: hmm, you MUST have watched Fight Club, where the Narrator is explaining his job to the bystander on the plane? That he works for a major auto company, in the Recall division, and explains the equation used as to whether or not to issue a recall?

Sounds just like your equation there. Yeah, I can see that, it all comes down to beancounters, after all.

"So, er...which auto company did you say you worked for?"
"A major one."
2001-11-09 04:29:36 AM  
I hope this works for me if I'm ever slapped with a heavy traffic fine. After figuring out my expenses (housing, food, insurance, car, etc.) and figuring out what I make, if the fine is greater to, or even anywhere near, the difference, I shall take this to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and get the fine overturned.

Or do I have to hire a lobbyist to pay off the judges first?
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