July 9, 2008

Exxon Valdez Plaintiffs Ask Supreme Court to Confirm Their Entitlement to Interest on the $500 Million Punitive Damages Award

The plaintiffs in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker have filed a "submission" with the Supreme Court, seeking clarification of their entitlement to interest on the reduced punitive damages award, dating back to the date of the original judgment.

Supreme Court Rule 42.1 provides: “If a judgment is modified or reversed with a direction that a judgment for money be entered below, the mandate will contain instructions with respect to the allowance of interest.” In this case, however, the Supreme Court's opinion did not contain any instructions regarding interest. The plaintiffs seek interest at the rate of 5.9 percent, compounded annually, dating back to Sept. 24, 1996, for a total of $488 million. Not exactly chump change.

SCOTUSblog has full coverage of this issue.