Monday, April 16, 2007

Sea Hawk Seafoods v. Exxon Corp. (9th Cir. - April 16, 2007)

Yet another case arising out of the Exxon Valdez tragedy. This lawsuit, however, is largely over at this point, and the only issue relates to the appropriate rate of prejudgment interest.

(You gotta love it, by the way, if you're the plaintiff and the case is so huge that a one percent dispute over prejudgment interest is worth an entire appeal.)

Not only does plaintiff win the appeal, but Judge Graber has a funny paragraph that lightly jabs the defendants and made me chuckle a little:

"Defendants also assert that the doctrine of judicial estoppel bars Plaintiff from seeking to apply state law on appeal because, before the district court, Plaintiff argued solely for the application of federal law. [Citation omitted] The record contradicts Defendants’ premise. Plaintiff did ask that the district court set an interest rate of 29.32%, 18.34%, or 9.20% using its discretion under federal law. But Plaintiff also argued, in the alternative, for an interest rate of 29.32% or 10.5% pursuant to Alaska law. Arguing in the alternative does not invoke judicial estoppel—it is good lawyering."

Congrats to the plaintiffs' attorneys (all of whom are in Washington), who prevail over a couple of folks at O'Melveny. Which just goes to show -- to the chagrin of the Martin family -- that just because you're from Harvard Law School (like me and Victor Yim from O'Melveny) and are paired up with someone from Yale Law School (like John Daum, from O'Melveny, and my lovely wife) doesn't mean that you're going to win them all.

Though you will have wonderful children.