Fair compensation and recovery not likely to happen for the citizens of Louisiana or their businesses. If history repeats itself, it could take over 19 years for Louisiana to wait for compensation from PB. Our last oil related crisis, the oil spill from the oil tanker the Exxon Valdez, resulted in Exxon escaping from paying any significant fines, fees and punitive damages for the 11,000 million gallons of oil spilled in Prince William Sound March 24, 1989.
The Exxon Valdez case of Baker v. Exxon an Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages. Most Alaskans believed this was a just and fair settlement. It was the first time the extensive damage to their coastal envirnoment was being addressed. Exxon appealed the ruling and a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals on December 6, 2002 reduced it to 4 billion. After more appeals on January 27, 2006 the damages award was reduced to $2.5 billion. Exxon repealed again, and on February 27, 2008, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for 90 minutes and on June 25, 2008 Justice David Souter issued the judgment of the court, vacating the 2.5 billion award and recommended the case back to a lower court, finding that the damages were excessive with respect to maritime common law. The judgment limits punitive damages to 507.5 million. I'm not an expert on maritime common law, but I would guess not much has changed since 2008. I hope Louisianians take note and will not allow BP lawyers to wear them out, leaving all hope for compensation for the current damage. Our courts should be here to protect the rights of our citizens and our environment. History does not need to repeat itself.
Thanks for the interesting post! The most important thing is it looks like settlement payments will get back on track soon. And there's not going to be a thing BP can do to avoid honoring its agreement.
The other fines, penalties and punitive damages are probably at least a year away and will certainly be appealed as far as possible. But keep the faith.