June 30, 2009

Exxon agrees to pay Exxon Valdez bill

U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil said it would not attempt an appeal of the $1 billion damages it was ordered to pay in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Earlier this month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay $1 billion, including $507.5 million in punitive damages and $470 million in interest accrued on the penalty.

Exxon has already begun paying the punitive damages, but was considering an appeal on the interest payments, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday.

The company argued the interest should have accrued from the time the Supreme Court decided punitive damages could be awarded for maritime accidents in 2008.

Lawyers representing 33,000 claimants argued the starting date for the interest accrual should be 1996, when the punitive damages were first assigned.

Plaintiffs' lawyer David Oesting said Tuesday he expected Exxon to make the $470 million interest payment within the next few days, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

"I think they recognized they weren't going any further from a legal standpoint, Oesting said.

The last remaining dispute in the case involves $70 million in court fees, a company spokesman said.