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Quotable

This is just saying that the oil companies aren't accountable for doing really bad stuff. Punitive damages is what keeps some businesses in line from taking risks ..."

Plaintiff Mary Jacobs, Kodiak

"We know this has been a very difficult time for everyone involved. We have worked hard over many years to address the impacts of the spill and to prevent such accidents from happening in our company again. We took immediate responsibility for the spill and have spent over $3.4 billion as a result of the accident, including compensatory payments, cleanup payments, settlements and fines."

Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson

"We see this as a very big victory, principally because we think that the court understands our concerns."

Amar Sarwal, chief litigation counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"I found out what the meaning of punitive damages is, and that's puny."

Cordova fisherman Mike Lytle

"The real problem, it seems, is the stark unpredictability of punitive awards."

From the majority Supreme Court opinion by Justice David Souter

"The plaintiffs will not look at it that way, but it's still a huge amount of money. Business will not get a lot of comfort from that."

John Kimball, maritime law attorney and law school professor

"In light of Exxon's decision to permit a lapsed alcoholic to command a supertanker carrying tens of millions of gallons of crude oil through the treacherous waters of Prince William Sound, thereby endangering all of the individuals who depended upon the sound for their livelihoods, the jury could reasonably have given expression to its 'moral condemnation' of Exxon's conduct in the form of this award."

Dissenting opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens

"It is tragic that so many Alaska fishermen and their families have had their lives put on hold waiting for this decision. My heart goes out to those affected, especially the families of the thousands of Alaskans who passed away while waiting for justice."

Gov. Sarah Palin