Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alabama's Republican Supreme Court Saves Exxon 10% of Last Years Profits

To the middle left you'll see Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, a favorite target of Captain Bama, along with some of his wingnut buddies. Recently "Justice" Parker proved his worth to the very folks that likely ran Judge Naybors against him for the Chief slot this past year by writing the opinion for his seven other GOP colleagues in overturning the 3.5 billion punitives award against Exxon/Mobil for dirty dealing the state on gas revenues.

Complicated case is some respects but it looks like lack of "reasonable reliance" on the State's part was how the GOP Justices justified their decision to toss the fraud and thus the punitives. Here's the actual slip opinion, all 125 pages, if you want to read the thing.

If this Exxon/Mobil outfit made 40 billion last year the 3.5 was about 10% in punitives. Hardly draconian, especially after the thing had been tried twice and Judge McCooey had cut the punitives from 11.8 billion. The compensatory damages were over a hundred million at trial but the Supremes, at least the eight Republicans, dropped that by half. Exxon's last CEO got a 400 million retirement deal yet the BCA and others in Alabama are celebrating I'm sure the wisdom of the decision. Scott Horton of Harper's has a nice take on the decision, especially given his role in representing fat cats of commerce. Note also how he also connects some of the players in the ongoing saga of The Don.

Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb correctly provided the lone dissenting voice for the little man. Perhaps Joe and Jill Sixpack will pay some attention to this case come the next elections yet I'll not hold my breath. I still favor the Alabama State bar's Missouri Plan approach for selecting Judges. Peace ... or War!

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