Yahoo News is covering this story from the victims' perspective. Not surprisingly, many of them are unhappy to be getting less money rather than more. In fact, many of them "were planning their retirements with the $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp. was expected to pay." Given that these people received compensatory damages, which means that they were (at least in theory) compensated for lost earnings (and lost future productivity), is it reasonable for them to demand that Exxon also pay for their retirements? I'm not convinced that the answer is "yes." I'm quite sure that a lot of people do not feel that the compensatory damages were adequate, but nobody seems to care about the distinction between the types of damages.
On a lighter note, one fisherman attempted to express his indignation by saying,
It [the decision] really hurts...It gives big business the formula they need to calculate the cost of their actions when they destroy the environment. This gives them the formula to calculate their risk, period.
Would he prefer that big business only have an unbiased estimate of the cost of their actions?