Dedicated to the pursuit of justice

Judge orders Exxon to pay damages in Valdez case San Diego firm involved in case for record-breaking 13 years

February 3, 2003 Press Releases

Casey Gerry Reed & Schenk or Sydnie Moore (619) 283-8896


SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In a long-awaited move for many — including local law firm Casey Gerry Reed & Schenk — a Federal District judge in Anchorage, Alaska recently ordered Exxon Mobil Corp to pay nearly $7 billion in damages and interest, as retribution for the massive oil spill following the 1989 crash of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker.

According to Richard Gerry, Casey Gerry founding partner and now of counsel, Casey Gerry is the only San Diego law firm involved with the historic case, which includes claims from more than 32,000 people, among them fishermen, businesses, processors, natives and others.

“In 1989 Exxon permitted a relapsed alcoholic captain to control its largest vessel, the Exxon Valdez,” he said. “As a result of this and crew fatigue, the vessel was run aground on Bly Reef in Prince William Sound, spilling 11 million gallons of oil in one of the most pristine fishing environments in the world.”

Five years later, after a four-month trial, a jury awarded a class of 32,000 plaintiffs a verdict in excess of $5 billion. Last week, Federal Judge H. Russell Holland affirmed this verdict and ordered Exxon to pay $4.5 billion in damages as well as about $2.5 billion in interest.

Gerry represented over 1,000 fishermen for the firm. He has continued to be instrumental in the resolution of this case, remaining committed to the fishermen’s cause — despite numerous appeals and delays by Exxon over the years.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Gerry. Many of our clients have since lost their fishing boats, their licenses and over 600 have died, but we will continue to fight these cases all the way to the end.”

“We never imagined when the oil spill occurred 14 years ago that the victims would have to wait this long to be compensated,” added Casey Gerry senior partner David Casey Jr., who notes that in Casey Gerry’s more than 55-year history, no case has been longer or had more appeals. “On a much larger scale,” he says, “this is another case in which a large corporation has delayed justice by using their enormous assets.”

Located at 110 Laurel Street, Casey Gerry Reed & Schenk is the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego. The firm’s 13 attorneys practice in various areas, including personal injury, business torts, asbestos litigation, class actions and products liability.