Caretakers of the $383 million in punitive damages Exxon Mobil Corp. recently paid for the 1989 oil spill are laying the groundwork to distribute a big chunk of the money by year’s end.
They can do it assuming a federal judge rejects an effort by Terry Bertoson, owner of Sea Hawk Seafoods Inc., to re-jigger the distribution plan in an effort to grab a bigger share of the money (The Highliner, Oct. 25).
Federal Judge H. Russel Holland has indicated he intends to rule on the Sea Hawk challenge on or about Nov. 12.
Lawyers representing thousands of commercial fishermen and other plaintiffs say they want to hand out some $150 million before the end of the year.
They’ve chosen 13 of the 51 claim categories to receive the first payments. The 13 include Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik salmon fishermen.
Now, here’s the fun part. The lawyers have produced lists of names with the amount each person will receive. Attorney fees will be deducted from these amounts.
I looked over these lists and saw that quite a few guys can expect checks for more than $100,000. I even saw one payment of $400,000-plus.
Here’s the lists, which were filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage: