HARD AGROUND - Wreck of the Exxon Valdez - March 24, 1989


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Anchorage Daily News
Date: 03/17/96
Day: Sunday
Edition: Final
Section: Metro
Page: B3

- Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the massive class-action lawsuit against Exxon are deciding how to split up the $5 billion award. In many cases, they have identified members of the different claim categories detailed below. Notices also have been published in newspapers alerting people to step forward if they think they have a claim.

Commercial fishermen in the spill area

Fishing permit holders, vessel owners, crews and spotter pilots who worked in the area of the spill. Fewer than 4,000 are permit holders.

Class: size: 10,000

Share: $2.9 billion

Attorney fees and expenses

Includes the 80 or so law firms that worked on the complex lawsuit over the past seven years. Lawyers and their firms to split the money based on the amount of risk they assumed, money they fronted and labor they contributed. They seek $25 million in expenses and a fee of 22.4 percent of the total compensatory and punitive damage award.

Number of attorneys: Hundreds

Fee: $1.15 billion


All Alaska Natives who have participated in a subsistence lifestyle in the spill area.

Class: size: 5,000

Share: $250 million

Real property

All nongovernment landowners in the spill area, but outside the affected towns and villages. Includes about 20 Native corporations. In all, owners of some 2.3 million affected acres are included.

Class: size: Undetermined

Share: $160 million

Native corporations (nonsignatories)

Corporations that suffered losses in their commercial operations, paid out-of-pocket expenses or suffered damage to archaeological resources, but have not signed onto the allocation plan. They are: Chugach Alaska Corp., Chenega, English Bay, Eyak, Port Graham, and Tatitlek.

Class: size: Six

Share: $145 million

Commercial fishermen elsewhere

Includes some Bristol Bay salmon fishermen, who saw depressed fish prices because of the spill, as well as fishermen from Southeast, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and Norton Sound. Permit holders make up about half the group.

Class: size: 20,000-plus

Share: $85 million


Includes those that lost money diverting services to assist in spill cleanup, lost revenue from fish taxes or had out-of-pocket expenses because of the spill. They are Chignik, Cordova, Homer, Kodiak, Kodiak Island Borough, Larsen Bay, Old Harbor, Ouzinkie, Port Lions, Seward and Whittier.

Class: size: 11

Share: $80 million


Most commercial seafood processors that lost money between 1989 and 1995 because of the spill. Does not include a group of commercial processors known as the 'Seattle Seven' that opted out of the lawsuit and settled out of court with Exxon. However, they are now suing to be included in splitting the punitive-damage award.

Class: size: 35

Share: $80 million

Aquaculture associations

Three private hatcheries -- Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association and Prince William Sound Aquaculture Association -- that suffered losses and reported expenses in protecting hatcheries from the spill.

Class: size: Three

Share: $70 million


Owners, skippers and crew of an estimated 200-250 tender vessels that worked in the spill area.

Class: size: Undetermined

Share: $35 million

Cannery workers

Anyone who worked or was scheduled to work in a spill-area cannery during the summer of 1989.

Class: size: 5,000

Share: $20 million

Area businesses

Businesses from seafood brokers to sportfishing lodges to net menders who filed lawsuits against Exxon for losses in 1989 and that lost profits between 1989 through 1995 because of the spill.

Class: size: Under 200

Share: $10 million

Personal injury

Anyone who suffered physical or mental injury due to involuntary physical contact with spilled oil. Claimants must be able to substantiate their claims with a credible report by a medical doctor.

Class: size: Undetermined, probably under 100

Share: $5 million

Personal property

A catchall category for claims for the costs of repairing and replacing personal property, other than commercial fishing equipment, damaged when it came into contact with oil.

Class: size: Probably under 500

Share: $500,000

Recreational use

Does not include claims by individuals. Instead, the total sum will be placed in a trust fund to be used for restoration and recreational enhancements.

Not a class: Trust fund

Share: $300,000


Subsistence hunting and fishing claimants who do not fall under the Native claim category. To be eligible a claimant must have possessed a subsistence harvest permit or license issued by the state.

Class: size: Undetermined

Share: $300,000

Total: $5 billion

Note: Class sizes in many cases are estimates. Figures have been rounded.

Source: Plaintiffs' attorneys

Story Index:
Main | The Legal Battles
Overall: story 336 of 380 Previous Next
The Legal Battles story 73 of 87 Previous Next

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