Oil Spill Settlements and Verdicts

Oil spills cause extensive environmental and economic damage. They can destroy the natural habitats of thousands of birds, fish, sea mammals, plants, and other marine life. Further, workers and businesses that rely on the health of these species can lose their source of income when oil spills occur near coastlines. Those who suffer the economic consequences of these disasters can file suit against the responsible parties, and many claims have already been resolved through oil spill settlements.

Oil spill settlements infographic


  • Settlement Amount: $507.5 million
  • Party at Fault: Exxon and its subsidiary Exxon Shipping Company

The Exxon-Valdez oil spill led to one of the largest environmental settlements in U.S. history, after about 11 million gallons of oil was released into the ocean. An Anchorage, AK, jury originally awarded $287 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages in the case. After several appeals, the total amount of punitive damages was reduced to the same amount as compensatory damages, in accordance with maritime common law.

Koch Industries

  • Settlement Amount: $30 million
  • Party at Fault: Koch Industries

Koch Industries is a privately held U.S. oil company. The company was hit with lawsuits in 1995 and 1997 in relation to more than 300 oil spills that occurred in six states after oil leaked from the company's pipes and facilities. The suits alleged that 3 million gallons of oil were released into ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, onto shorelines, and other water sources. In addition to the civil fine, the company was required to allocate $5 million for environmental safety projects and improve its leak prevention systems.

Prudhoe Bay

  • Settlement Amount: $20 million
  • Party at Fault: BP

Corroded pipelines released an estimated 267,000 gallons of oil into Prudhoe Bay, off of the northern coast of Alaska. The company was fined $20 million for violating the Clean Water Act and for negligent discharge of oil, and placed on three years of probation for the crime.


  • Settlement Amount: $588,000
  • Party at Fault: ConocoPhillips and its subsidiary Polar Tankers Inc.

According to a federal investigation, an oil tanker owned by Polar Tankers spilled between 1,000 and 7,200 gallons of Alaskan oil into Dalco Passage when it was delivering the load to a refinery in Tacoma, Washington.

Contact a Lawyer

If you have lost income, suffered property damage, or are faced with hefty clean up costs due to an oil spill, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an attorney to find out if you have a case.

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