ADMIRALTY, CIVIL PROCEDURE, CORPORATION & ENTERPRISE LAW, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, INJURY AND TORT LAW, OIL & GAS LAW, REMEDIES
Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, No. 07-219
In an action brought against Exxon for economic losses resulting from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a circuit court ruling remitting the punitive damages award to $2.5 billion is vacated and remanded for further reduction where: 1) the Court was equally divided on the question of whether a shipowner may be liable for punitive damages without acquiescence in the actions causing harm, and thus the circuit court’s opinion is undisturbed on the issue; 2) federal statutory law does not bar a punitive award on top of damages for economic loss; but 3) the award in this case should be limited to an amount equal to compensatory damages, or approximately $500 million.
BANKING LAW, CIVIL PROCEDURE, CIVIL RIGHTS, CONTRACTS, INDIAN LAW, LANDLORD TENANT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE
Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., No. 07-411
In a discrimination, breach of contract, and bad faith suit brought in Tribal Court by an Indian couple against a non-Indian bank, which sold land that it owned, and had previously leased to plaintiffs, on a tribal reservation to non-Indians, judgment and award for plaintiffs is reversed where the tribal court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate a discrimination claim concerning the non-Indian bank’s sale of fee land it owned.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE
Kennedy v. Louisiana, No. 07-343
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution bars a state from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death.
CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE
Giles v. California, No. 07-6053
The theory of forfeiture by wrongdoing accepted by the California Supreme Court, which holds that a criminal defendant forfeits his right to confront the victim’s testimony when the defendant commits an intentional criminal act that makes the victim unavailable to testify, is not a founding-era exception to the Sixth Amendment confrontation right.