EXCLUSIVE NEWSpoetry INTERVIEW WITH HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR
On March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, one of Exxon's largest oil
tankers, under the command of a captain who had been drinking and who
abandoned the bridge, struck a reef and spilled eleven million gallons
of crude oil into the Prince William Sound in Alaska.
"It's none of your business"
In September 1994, an Alaska jury found Exxon liable for punitive
damages for its conduct in causing the oil spill and assessed $5 billion
against the company. The lawsuit was brought by commercial fishermen,
Alaska natives and others directly harmed by the spill.
"Yes, but it was for different projects that overlap the time period."
"No, the information is not public information."
"Just in 1998."
In the nearly five years since its jury verdict, Exxon has not paid
a penny of the damages. Instead, it has chosen to use an appeals process
to delay and possibly defeat any payment.
"I don't remember that either."
To commemorate the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the world's largest oil
company has decided to ratchet up the corporate attack on punitive damages.
"I have several projects. This is one paper I did, but I'm working
on several other things."
It has just come to our attention that last year, Exxon funded
Harvard Law Professor W. Kip Viscusi to look into the issue of punitive
damages. Viscusi obliged, and wrote an article for the Georgetown Law
Journal advocating the abolition of punitive damages. ("The Social Costs
of Punitive Damages Against Corporations in Environmental and Safety
Torts," by W. Kip Viscusi, 87 Georgetown Law Journal 2(285), November
"I don't even know."
In a footnote to the article, Viscusi discloses that the research
for the article was funded in part by "a grant from the Exxon Corporation."