ExxonMobil Gets Awesome $4500000000 Break!

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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  • Nearly 20 years ago, some drunk dude plowed into Alaska in a big boat and killed a lot of Arctic ducks or something. Unfortunately his boat was full of oil. Ten million gallons of it. (The boat, by the way, is still in operation. The captain is not; last we heard of him, he was living in Long Island, picking up trash on the side of the road.) Today the Supreme Court decided that there should be a ratio of compensatory to punitive damages in the lawsuit which resulted, and therefore gave ExxonMobil a big relief in their fat wallets. (Though, for the record, the company did pay more than $3 billion in cleanup and the like. Though they wouldn't have had to, would they, if they hadn't made a mess!) In the end, each plaintiff got/gets $30,000. Which, in Alaska, means they'll never have to work again. Except they pretty much all drank through it already. ISN'T IT IRONIC.

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