ExxonMobil

O’Melveny has handled a number of important matters for ExxonMobil, including persuading the US Supreme Court that the US$2.5 billion in punitive damages awarded to victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was excessive as a matter of maritime common law.

O’Melveny also helped the company obtain a unanimous jury verdict in its favor following a three-week trial involving federal maritime claims brought by the widow of a shipyard worker alleging that her late husband developed mesothelioma while working aboard ExxonMobil’s vessels in the 1960s. In a lawsuit that, according to a local newspaper, “broke new ground” in asbestos litigation, the plaintiff sued ExxonMobil under federal maritime law as the owner of vessels on which her husband had worked, rather than suing the companies that manufactured the asbestos products that injured him, or the shipyard that employed him, which is covered under a federal maritime workers’ compensation scheme.

Finally, O’Melveny is representing ExxonMobil in some of the leading private global warming tort actions, including an action brought by an Eskimo village in Alaska asserting climate change-related public nuisance and conspiracy claims against a collection of oil, coal and electric companies, and a lawsuit against oil companies, insurance companies and financial service entities for various injuries arising out of Hurricane Katrina.