Violation Tracker Individual Record
On March 24, 1989 Exxon's supertanker Valdez went aground off the coast of Alaska and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound, polluting more than 700 miles of shoreline. After several years of legal maneuvering, in September 1994 a federal jury ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon delayed as long as possible in paying any of the damages by pursuing a protracted appeals process. In 2001 it got a federal appeals court to rule that the punitive damage award was excessive, prompting the judge in the case to reduce the amount to $4 billion. The case finally reached reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2008 slashed the punitive damage award to $507.5 million.