On June 26, 1997, WLF filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, urging the court to overturn a five billion dollar punitive damage award imposed against Exxon Corp. in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the Alaskan coast. WLF argued that the award so far exceeded anything needed to serve the twin purposes of punitive damages awards (deterrence and punishment) as to violate Exxon’s due process rights. WLF argued that the result of the award is to enrich plaintiffs’ lawyers and a few lucky Alaska residents at the expense of the consuming public. On November 7, 2001, the appeals court issued a decision largely agreeing with WLF’s arguments. The court overturned the punitive damage award as grossly excessive and remanded the case to the trial court for a redetermination of damages.
In re Exxon Valdez