Exxon, the most profitable company in the history of the world (earning $40.61 billion last year), recently enjoyed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which slashed roughly $2 billion of punitive damages awarded against it in 1994 over the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. The plaintiffs – over 32,000 Alaskans – have now asked the court to award $488 million in interest on top of the reduced damages, something that is routine in virtually every case and which recognizes the interest that money owed to the plaintiffs would have earned had the defendant paid the debt when it was due.
Now in a move that must make even the most hardcore, pro-business tort-reformer blush, Exxon has asked the court to deny the plaintiffs interest because “the substantial delay here was not in any sense Exxon’s fault.” Uh, weren’t they the losers at trial who appealed the judgment in the first place?
Exxon’s shameful audacity knows no bounds. And if the Supremes rule in their favor, the take-over of that court by Big Business appears complete.