In In re The Exxon Valdez (download PDF:122KB), a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court said it hoped its decision would bring to an end the decades-long legal saga. The court has ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay more than 12 years of interest on the $507.5 million in punitive damages to Alaska natives, fishermen and other plaintiffs who were harmed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Exxon Mobil Corp. was fighting to limit the interest to less than a year's worth of accumulation. The court also rejected Exxon Mobil's request that the plaintiffs pay at least 90 percent of the company's court costs of $70 million, which the company ran up in challenging the punitive damages verdict against it. Instead, the court ordered each side to pay its own costs. The damages cost to Exxon Mobil for the Valdez spill is estimated at more than $1.4 billion. While this amount is huge, its relentless defense succeeded in reducing an original jury verdict of $5 billion in punitive damages by about 90 percent.