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    Court Won't Reconsider Exxon Ruling

    Alaska judge ordered to reduce $5 billion punitive damage award.


    SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court is declining to reconsider its November ruling that threw out as excessive the $5 billion punitive-damages verdict against Exxon Mobil Corp. for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

    In November, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a federal judge in Anchorage to determine a lesser amount. The court announced that it would not reconsider its decision, the Associated Press reported.

    An Anchorage jury had ordered the oil giant in 1994 to pay $5 billion to thousands of commercial fishermen, Alaska natives, property owners and others harmed by the nation's worst oil spill.

    Exxon, which has since merged with Mobil to form Dallas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., had argued the verdict was unwarranted, unfair and excessive.

    The appeals court ruled last year that some damages were justified to punish the company but agreed that $5 billion -- the biggest punitive damage award in history at the time -- was too much. The amount was equal to a year's worth of Exxon's profits at the time, the report said.

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