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A federal court ruled Monday that Exxon Mobil Corp. owes $507.5 million, plus 5.9% annual interest accrued since 1996, in punitive damages to plaintiffs affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

A federal court ruled Monday that Exxon Mobil Corp. owes $507.5 million, plus 5.9% annual interest accrued since 1996, in punitive damages to plaintiffs affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. 4

A federal court ruled Monday that Exxon Mobil Corp. owes $507.5 million, plus 5.9% annual interest accrued since 1996, in punitive damages to plaintiffs affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In a divided opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that the Irving, Texas-based company and the plaintiffs would have to pay for their own legal costs and court fees. Exxon’s legal fees approach $70 million, according to court filings.

The ruling follows a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last year to limit the punitive damages awarded the commercial fishermen and other plaintiffs who sued Exxon over the Valdez spill to about a tenth of the $5 billion awarded by a jury in September 1996. Interest payments, however, amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the latest opinion. The company has already paid plaintiffs about $383.4 million, a spokesman said.

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly-traded oil company, insisted that the interest should run from the 2008 date of the Supreme Court decision. The company also wanted the plaintiffs to pay for at least 90% of the litigation costs.

An Exxon spokesman said that the company “will review the opinion before commenting further.”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs couldn’t be reached.

The opinion brings the legal saga spawned by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill closer to an end.

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Most lawyers who take on major bankruptcy cases have the time and leeway to help troubled companies restructure in Chapter 11. Corinne Ball, the lead lawyer in Chrysler’s bankruptcy case, had neither. 8

Most lawyers who take on major bankruptcy cases have the time and leeway to help troubled companies restructure in Chapter 11. Corinne Ball, the lead lawyer in Chrysler’s bankruptcy case, had neither.