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Exxon Appeals Alaska Oil Spill Verdict

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(Associated Press)

Exxon Corp. has appealed the $5.3-billion verdict an Anchorage jury awarded in 1994 to fishermen, Native Americans and others harmed by the 11-million-gallon oil spill from the tanker Exxon Valdez. The appeal, to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, argues that U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland erred when he allowed the jury to award $5 billion in punitive damages for the March 1989 spill in Prince William Sound. The oil firm says punitive damages were unwarranted because Congress already had spelled out actions to punish oil spillers and that a $900-million settlement with the state reached in 1991 precluded any more punitive damages. The firm also said the $3.5 billion it has already spent to clean up the spill is punishment enough.

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