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Duration and Scope of Litigation © Photograph by Natalie Fobes.

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Presentation on theme: "Duration and Scope of Litigation © Photograph by Natalie Fobes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Duration and Scope of Litigation © Photograph by Natalie Fobes

2 “Constitution” Necessary to Manage Plaintiffs’ Case Lead Counsel Executive Committee Discovery Team Damages Team Governmental Liaison Team Liaison Counsel Trial Team PAC Team AQSF & EQSF Administrator Law Team Complexity of Litigation

3 Discovery Commenced in 1990 Continued through Trial Over 1,000 Depositions/Over 2,500 Days At least 200 Expert Depositions/Over 450 Days Over 10,000,000 Pages of Discovery Over 7,500 Filings Over 1,000 Motions Over 550 Discovery Adjudications Over 370 Numbered Orders Complexity of Litigation - Discovery

4 State and Federal Statutes Conflict State and Federal Statutes Conflict Federal Court vs State Court Federal Court vs State Court Robins Dry Dock Robins Dry Dock TAPAA TAPAA Maritime Law Maritime Law Blood Testing Blood Testing Causation Causation Scientific and econometric evidence re: fisheries Scientific and econometric evidence re: fisheries Non-Economic damages Non-Economic damages Compensatory damages Compensatory damages Punitive damages Punitive damages Multiple appeals Multiple appeals Scope and Complexity of Non-Discovery Motion Practice

5 Organizational and Procedural Challenges: Tenders Natives Processors Cannery Workers Municipalities Simultaneous State and Federal Cases to Coordinate Fishermen Vessel Owners Businesses Spotter Pilots Crew Members Permit Holders Removal Jurisdiction of this Court TAPAA Role in Claims Process Direct and Class Action PlaintiffsMultiple Categories of PlaintiffsMandatory Punitive Damages ClassOpt Out Classes60 Different Plaintiff Law Firms Landowners Scope and Complexity of Pretrial

6 Witnesses: 155, including 36 Experts Personnel Policies Alcoholism Seamanship Coast Guard Rules Fatigue Multi-Phased Trial Three Verdict Forms Three Closing Arguments Pages of Transcript: Over 7,700 Federal Trial Innovative and Groundbreaking What Happened Seven Different Sets of Instructions Two State Court Trials Finance Fish Biology Fish Management Economics Ecology Corporate Governance Blood Test Trial Exhibits Admitted: Plaintiff: 453 / Defendant: 656 Federal Appellate Decisions to Date: 18 Four Opening Statements Punishment Scope and Complexity of Trial Jury Was Able To Compare Exxon’s Congressional Statements To What The Evidence Actually Showed Scope of Issues: First Time Entire Story Was Heard

7 Duration and Scope of Litigation EVOS trial within 5 years EVOS litigation is nearly 19 years old... and still ongoing... Typical class actions: 5.1 years Longest Ninth Circuit common fund case is 13 years

8 1989 Mar 24: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Apr 26: 26 Complaints filed in District Court Summer: Development of individualized claims begins Sept: Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification Dec 22: Pretrial Order 9 outlines organization of Plaintiffs’ Case Management Team Mar - Dec: Judge Holland issued 20 written orders Duration and Scope of Litigation

9 : Discovery commenced and continued through trial, producing millions of pages of documents Sept 17, Mar 25, 1991: Prepared and submitted claim forms to TAPL Duration and Scope of Litigation 1990

10 : Discovery continued through trial, producing millions of pages of documents Sept 17, Mar 25, 1991: Prepared and submitted claim forms to TAPL Nov: Liability and Impact Teams established Duration and Scope of Litigation 1991

11 : Discovery continued through trial, producing millions of pages of documents April: Order No The court stayed motion practice (except for discovery matters). June: Creation of TAPL fund determinations database by Plaintiffs--lasted several months Sept - Oct: Preparation of first damages matrix for commercial fisheries Nov: Compilation of individual claims database began, ultimately resulted in the POA and POD Duration and Scope of Litigation 1992

12 : Discovery continued through trial, producing millions of pages of documents May: Order No The court approved a case management plan that stayed issue-oriented dispositive motion practice except as to seven specific summary judgment motions. Exxon managed to file over 15 fact-based and legal-oriented motions for summary judgment in 1993, the first of which was a motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Claims for Punitive Damages Based on TAPAA Displacement of General Maritime Law. Mar : Development of “All Plaintiffs’ Database” Apr: Briefing in the Ninth Circuit re: Robins Dry Dock May - Nov: Parties conducted expert depositions Oct 21: Orders 158 & 159 denied Exxon’s summary judgment motions based on TAPPA foreclosing punitive damages claims and res judicata. Oct 29: Settlement approved between Plaintiffs and Alyeska Nov: The parties filed a Proposed Joint Trial Plan, in which Exxon identified 14 Issues of Law to be Resolved, seven concerned punitive damages, none contended that punitive damages were precluded by CWA Duration and Scope of Litigation 1993

13 : Discovery continued through trial, producing millions of pages of documents Mar : Development of “All Plaintiffs’ Database” March: The parties filed the Third Amended Revised Trial Plan, which did not list displacement by the CWA as a legal issue in contention. Jan: Plaintiffs responded to voluminous pre-trial motions Jan: Solicitation for increased contributions to fund the litigation through trial Apr 15: Final certification of mandatory punitive damage class May 2: Phase I of the Federal Court trial began June: The court approved the Third Amended Revised Trial Plan. Sept 1: Close of evidence and time for judgment as a matter of law and motion Sept 16: Phase III $5 Billion jury verdict Sept 30: Deadline to file dispositive motions. Hazelwood filed 11 post-trial motions and Exxon filed 11 motions for a new trial and for judgment as a matter of law. None of Exxon’s motions contended that CWA displaced any of plaintiffs. Nov: EQSF planning begins Duration and Scope of Litigation 1994

14 Jan 17: Court issued 12 orders denying Exxon/Hazelwood’s post-trial motions Feb 7: Exxon motions to depose jurors; adjust Phase IIA verdict; and reconsider order re: chum price & UCI setnetter harvest June 13-14: Judge Holland conducted jury interviews July 12: Exxon motion to depose Rita Wilson & Natalie Phillips Sep 6: Exxon motion for a new trial claiming juror misconduct & coercion Sep - Nov: Plaintiffs’ lawyers met with claimants re: damages matrix, POA, & distribution issues Oct: Drafting of POA begins. Exxon filed Motion and Renewed Motion... for Judgment on Punitive Damages Claims pursuant to rules 49(a), 58(2), and to the extent they may be applicable pursuant to rules 50(b), 56(b), 56(d), 59(a), and 59(e). Nov: The court denied Exxon’s request to lift the stay and file its motion IIA verdict. Nov 13: Exxon opposed plaintiffs’ motion to finalize the Phase IIA verdict Duration and Scope of Litigation 1995

15 Mar 18: Exxon motion for judgment. Seattle Seven, acting on Exxon’s behalf, objected to POA May: POD drafting began June 11: Order 317 approved POA & denounced Seattle Seven/Exxon scheme June 18: Exxon motion to reconsider Court’s order re: Seattle Seven Sept 11: Order 327 denied Exxon’s motion to reconsider order re: Seattle Seven Sept 24: Judgment entered on $5 Billion jury verdict Sept 30: Exxon and Seattle Seven filed joint appeal on Seattle Seven kickback Oct 8: Exxon motion to alter or amend the judgment and filed its bill of costs against certain plaintiffs Duration and Scope of Litigation 1996

16 Jan 17: Order on Exxon’s motion to amend judgment. Time to appeal began to run Feb 12: Exxon appealed to Ninth Circuit Feb - Mar: Continued development of POD June 26: Exxon filed joint opening brief in the main appeal of In re: Exxon Valdez Sept 23: Exxon motion for a new trial in District Court, based on juror misconduct and coercion Duration and Scope of Litigation 1997

17 Jan 5: Ninth Circuit stayed the proceedings; ordered a limited remand regarding Exxon’s motion for a new trial Mar 16: Deposition of Rita Wilson July 31: Order 339 denied Exxon’s second motion for a new trial Aug 7: Exxon appealed to Ninth Circuit Sept 11: Ninth Circuit granted the motion and briefing schedule set Duration and Scope of Litigation 1998

18 Jan - Dec: Processed over 20,000 claim forms, representing over 54,000 potential claims May 3: Oral argument heard on consolidated appeals Week of June 28: Meetings scheduled to update claimants Aug: Exxon appealed order re: POD Duration and Scope of Litigation 1999

19 Jan - Dec: Continued processing claim forms including over 9,000 Round II claims, representing over 15,000 potential claims Jan 4: Response to Exxon’s appeal of the POD Mar 16: Ninth Circuit denied Exxon’s appeal for a new trial based on alleged juror misconduct re: Rita Wilson July 14: Exxon filed its petition for a writ of certiorari for a new trial Oct 2: Supreme Court denied Exxon’s petition for cert Nov 9: Ninth Circuit oral arguments re: Baker v. Exxon Duration and Scope of Litigation 2000

20 Jan - Dec: Claims processing continued Jan - Dec: PAC heard and resolved 650 appeals regarding final percent shares of distribution Nov 7: Ninth Circuit vacated and remanded $5 billion punitive damages award in light of BMW v. Gore and Cooper Industries v. Leatherman Tool Group Duration and Scope of Litigation 2001

21 Jan - Feb: Plaintiffs counsel continued work on briefing re: remand of punitive damages June - July: State Court trial re: municipalities’ claims July - Aug; Oct - Dec: Funds from supplemental claims, compensatory damages and compensatory interest mailed to numerous claimants Oct 11: Oral arguments held in District Court re: punitive damages remand Dec 9: Order 358 approved punitive damage award of $4 billion plus interest; and stated $5 billion award was constitutionally permissible Duration and Scope of Litigation 2002

22 Apr - present: Supplemental claims, compensatory damages and interest on compensatory damages continues to be distributed; continue to process claims June 12: Appellate briefing began to the Ninth Circuit regarding $4 billion punitive damages award July 11: Tender claims settled short of September trial Aug 22: Remand of punitive damage award in light of State Farm v. Campbell Sept 1: PAC has ruled on over 1,000 appeals Dec 3:Oral Argument in District Court re: punitive damages award Duration and Scope of Litigation 2003

23 Ongoing: Supplemental claims, compensatory damages and interest on compensatory damages continues to be distributed; continue to process claims, estates, divorces, assignments and liens Jan 28: Order No. 364 approved punitive damage award of $4.5 billion plus interest; and stated $5 billion award was constitutionally permissible June 28: Exxon filed its opening brief with the Ninth Circuit June - Nov: Briefings filed with the Ninth Circuit Duration and Scope of Litigation 2004

24 Ongoing: Supplemental claims, compensatory damages and interest on compensatory damages continues to be distributed; continue to process claims, estates, divorces, assignments and liens Sept: Plaintiffs filed a motion requesting the Ninth Circuit set a date for oral argument Duration and Scope of Litigation 2005

25 Ongoing: Supplemental claims, compensatory damages and interest on compensatory damages continues to be distributed; continue to process claims, estates, divorces, assignments and liens Jan 27: Ninth Circuit oral arguments on punitive damages re: Baker v. Exxon Dec 22: Ninth Circuit’s ruling reducing punitive damages to $2.5 billion; Judge Browning dissents Duration and Scope of Litigation 2006

26 Ongoing: Supplemental claims, compensatory damages and interest on compensatory damages continues to be distributed; continue to process claims, estates, divorces, assignments and liens Jan 12: Exxon petitioned Ninth Circuit for panel rehearing and petition for rehearing en banc Mar 2: At the Ninth Circuit’s request, Plaintiffs filed a response to Exxon’s petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc May 23: Ninth Circuit rejected Exxon’s petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc Aug 20: Exxon filed its petition for a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court Aug 29: Plaintiffs filed a conditional cross petition for a writ of certiorari Sept 21: Plaintiffs filed its brief in opposition Oct 1: Exxon filed its brief in opposition to Plaintiffs’ conditional cross petition Oct 9: Plaintiffs filed its reply brief for a conditional cross petition Oct 12: Exxon filed its reply brief in support of its petition for a writ of certiorari Oct 26: US Supreme Court conference to review petitions to issue an order to grant or deny them Oct 29: US Supreme Court granted in part the petition for writ of certiorari Dec 17: Exxon filed its brief on the merits with the US Supreme Court Dec 26: Amicus curiae briefs filed on behalf of Exxon Duration and Scope of Litigation 2007

27 Ongoing: Supplemental claims, compensatory damages and interest on compensatory damages continues to be distributed; continue to process claims, estates, divorces, assignments and liens Jan 22: Plaintiffs filed its brief on the merits with the US Supreme Court Jan 29: Amicus curiae briefs filed on behalf of Plaintiffs Feb 18: Exxon filed its reply on the merits with the US Supreme Court Feb 27: Oral Arguments schedule before the US Supreme Court June: US Supreme Court will issue their opinion by the end of June Duration and Scope of Litigation 2008

28 Plaintiffs’ counsel maintains regular contact with claimants via 800 numbers, local meetings, letters, and websites Individual relationship maintained with 32,000 claimants Duration and Scope of Litigation

29 Litigation is nearly 19 years old... and still ongoing... Still upcoming... Duration and Scope of Litigation Oral Arguments February 27, 2008 Supreme Court Decision By End Of June 2008


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