Herring Debt

With the bulk of the 507.5 million dollars in punitive damages from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill having now been distributed, or in the process of being distributed, this was supposed to be a time of closure for the fishermen, Alaska natives, business owners and other litigants. This, in spite of having seen their award slashed to a fraction of the 5 billion dollars originally awarded by a jury in 1996. But for some Prince William Sound herring fishermen in particular, the award has brought anything but closure. In some cases, their individual share of the punitive damages award isn't enough to cover their outstanding debt, or even to pay the federal income tax on their settlement. KCHU's Erik Wander has the story:

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