Alabama
11:25 am
Mon March 29, 2004

Exxon Mobil Verdict Reduced

Montgomery, AL – A Montgomery judge has cut the record 11-point-9 (b) billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil to 3-point-6 billion dollars.

The state government won the verdict in
a natural gas royalty dispute with the oil company. Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey says Exxon Mobil intentionally and deliberately
committed fraud against the state, but the verdict must be cut to bring it in line with U-S Supreme Court guidelines.

A spokesman for Exxon Mobil, Bob Davis, says the decision is unjustified and excessive. The oil company will appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the state -- Robert Cunningham and Jere Beasley -- say they would have preferred the original verdict, but the reduced amount is more likely to survive on appeal.

A Montgomery jury returned the 11-point-9 (B) billion dollar verdict in November. Jury foreman Joe King of Montgomery says he's disappointed at the reduced amount. He says 3-point-6 (b) billion dollars is not enough to get the oil company's attention.