The biggest single recipient of funds from the punitive award will be Exxon itself. Exxon stands to put about $110 million from the award in its own pocket thanks to a side deal cut in 1991 with seven Seattle fish processors. Those processors settled with Exxon for $70 million at the time but got to remain in the punitive lawsuit and pass any award they received back to the company. The deal was called "an astonishing ruse" by the federal judge in the case, but it was upheld on appeal.
"In light of Exxon's decision to permit a lapsed alcoholic to command a supertanker carrying tens of millions of gallons of crude oil through the treacherous waters of Prince William Sound, thereby endangering all of the individuals who depended upon the sound for their livelihoods, the jury could reasonably have given expression to its 'moral condemnation' of Exxon's conduct in the form of this award." Justice John Paul Stevens ~From the Anchorage Daily News 6/26/08