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

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EXXON, LLOYD'S SETTLE
INSURERS TO PAY $480 MILLION

By TERRI LANGFORD
The Associated Press

Anchorage Daily News
Date: 11/01/96
Day: Friday
Edition: Final
Section: Business
Page: D1

HOUSTON- Lloyd's of London and some 250 other insurers agreed Thursday to pay a $480 million settlement to Exxon Corp. over the cleanup costs for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The settlement, announced by Exxon, follows months of mediation in the wake of last June's $250 million Houston, Texas, jury award to Exxon.

Lloyd's and others had faced an additional $161.1 million in interest, legal costs and other charges, and many had speculated it would be four more years before the matter was settled.

''Exxon is pleased that these claims finally have been resolved,'' said Exxon chairman Lee Raymond in a statement. ''This settlement will close another chapter of this accident.''

Thursday's agreement avoids additional interest costs to the insurers during what could have been a prolonged appeal. Lloyd's and its syndicates were the main defendants in Exxon's suit. But hundreds of others around the world also were included.

The settlement is expected to be paid to Texas-based Exxon in January, the company said.

A call to an attorney for Lloyd's was not immediately returned to The Associated Press.

The settlement also resolves Lloyd's suit against Exxon that was pending in New York federal court, Exxon said.

''It was a very difficult negotiation,'' said Susan Soussan, a former state district judge, who handled the mediation. ''Everybody had such strong positions and strong convictions.''

Last June, jurors found that the insurance companies should make good on a policy that covered Exxon as owner of the 11 million gallons of oil that spilled when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound.

Attorneys for Exxon argued that the insurers should be liable for a total of nearly $492 million, with annual interest assessed at 10 percent in the aftermath of the March 24, 1989, accident.

Insurers countered that the total award, with 6 percent interest dating back to late 1990, should be no more than about $335 million.

A key element of the underwriters' defense was whether Exxon Corp. and Exxon Shipping Co. actually were alter egos, with the parent company reaping profits from its subsidiary while trying to keep two corporate identities for other purposes.

Exxon originally sought more than $2 billion from its insurance companies and underwriting syndicates.

In January, the two sides announced a partial settlement in which the underwriters agreed to reimburse Exxon $300 million for certain expenses and liabilities.

A federal jury in 1994 awarded $5 billion in punitive damages against Exxon to commercial fishermen, Alaska Natives, property owners and others harmed by the spill.

The company has exhausted its legal appeals in Alaska on that matter and has pledged to pursue the matter in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.


Story Index:
Main | The Legal Battles
Overall: story 346 of 380 Previous Next
The Legal Battles story 81 of 87 Previous Next

   
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