Kodiak Attorney Matt Jamin addresses Exxon Valdez oil spill plaintiffs at a meeting Friday in Kodiak. (Photo by Stacy Studebaker).
The first of several meetings with plaintiffs in the aftermath of last week’s Supreme Court decision in the Exxon Valdez oil spill punitive damages case was held in Kodiak Friday. The meetings are designed to help claimants understand the court’s decision, as well as what they can expect as the litigation winds down. KMXT’s Casey Kelly has more.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Matt Jamin says the Supreme Court’s decision to limit punitive damages in the case to 507.5 million dollars, or one-tenth of the original award an Anchorage jury decided on in 1994, has been difficult for many who’ve spent 19 years of their lives suffering with the consequences of the spill.
(Jamin 1 :16s “…can’t be done as a result of it.”)
The most optimistic timeline has the first settlement checks going out in three to four months. Jamin says lawyers are confident that Exxon will be ordered to pay about 488-million dollars in interest that’s accrued on the settlement over the years. Whether the company appeals that ruling–or any other aspect of the case–is unknown.
(Jamin 2 :12s “…certainly always a possibility.”)
Kristine Harder stands to get a portion of the claim belonging to her late father, who is among the 20 percent of the original claimants who have died before the case could be resolved. Harder says Governor Sarah Palin should put pressure on Exxon to pay, and pay quickly.
(Harder 1 :22s “…more than they already have.”)
Harder says the meeting was good for claimants, many of whom feel emotionally drained now that the end of the case is finally near.
(Harder 2 :05s “…the same way that you do.”)
More meetings were held with claimants over the weekend in Kenai and Cordova. A meeting is being held in Anchorage today and Seattle on Tuesday.
I’m Casey Kelly.