Supreme Court saves Exxon $2 billion

The U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion on whether Exxon should pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages arising out of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. In a decision that comes as no surprise to anyone…except maybe those who expected that the court would throw out punitive damages in their entirety…the court reduced the punitive damages from $2.5 billion to roughly $504 million, which is about $46 dollars for every gallon of oil they spilled in Prince William Sound.

Several observations:

  1. Champagne corks are flying at the Exxon boardroom in Dallas. You can hear the popping sounds all the way over here in Fort Worth.
  2. Exxon is the most profitable corporation in the history of ever. It set an annual profit record by earning $40.61 billion last year – or nearly $1,300 per second in 2007. That eclipsed its previous record of $39.5 billion in 2006.
  3. Justice Samuel Alito did not participate in the decision because he owns Exxon stock. As if…