Another Reason For The Delay In Exxon Mobil

The background is here.

The conspiracy theory is that the state supremes are waiting until after the election to release the opinion because they lose no matter who wins the appeal. Affirming the amount of punitive damages awarded at trial will hack off their big money political donors. Cutting the damages will leave them open to accusations of being corporate tools.

I suggested that the delay is a result of the “law” governing punitive damages. It’s a completely subjective standard applied to a factually complex case, and so it should not surprise us that it has taken this long from nine individuals to agree on a result.

I forgot about it when I put that post up, but there is yet another possible reason for the delay. Scotus has before it this term a major case on punitive damages. Perhaps, anticipating an important new holding, the state supremes are waiting for it before making their own decision. If that’s the situation, the reports about the Scotus case indicate it may be some time before our state supremes decide Exxon Mobil.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Alabama Court Decisions, Scotus

4 Comments on “Another Reason For The Delay In Exxon Mobil”

  1. Mark Says:

    Are they going to avoid deciding and send it back down to the state?

  2. wheeler Says:

    that’s what it looked like after oral arguments. but who knows what they’ll do.


  3. […] Recently, however, Nabers’ management of the court has come under criticism for delays in an appeal where Exxon Mobile was mandated by a lower court to pay the state of Alabama $3.5 billion. Observers say that the delay is because the court is unwilling to consider such a high-profile case this close to an election. Affirming the amount of punitive damages will scare off potential campaign donors. Reducing or eliminating the amount will give ammunition to Democrats to attack them on for being pawns of corporate America. If the criticism is justified, then I just say that’s another reason to appoint judges. There are reasons to believe the criticism isn’t justified, however. As wheeler points out, this is an extremely large amount of punitive damages and the standards of awarding damages are subjective and the case is complicated. The court may also be waiting for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on punitive damages that it is expected to take on this term. […]


  4. […] And Exxon-Mobil I speculated a few months back that one reason our state supremes had not yet decided the Exxon-Mobil case was that they were […]


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