Exxon Valdez spill damages slashed
Oil company must now pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages, down from $4.5 billion previously awarded.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A federal appeals court Friday slashed in half the $5 billion punitive damage award against Exxon Mobil Corp. for the 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez - one of the biggest oil spills in history - off the coast of Alaska.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco reduced the damages the jury awarded against Exxon to $2.5 billion from the original $5 billion, which had been reduced to $4.5 billion.
The court called $4.5 billion excessive in relation to the economic harm the spill caused, according to a court filling.
The court said in its ruling that Exxon's "prompt action" to clean up the oil and compensate the plaintiffs for economic losses helped "mollify, at least to some material degree, the reprehensibility in economic terms of Exxon's original misconduct."
The Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of Alaskan crude into Prince William Sound.