Exxon Mobil

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is asking the Alabama Supreme Court to overturn a $3.5 billion punitive damages award against the company that resulted from a lawsuit regarding the payment of Mobile Bay project royalties to the state.

The punitive award is based on the state's "unproven allegations of fraud," Exxon Mobil General Counsel Charles Matthews said in a press release. "We are appealing to have it reversed."

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In 2003, a jury found that Exxon Mobil committed fraud in the calculation of royalties it paid the state on production from its Mobile Bay natural gas wells. The jury had to find that the company committed fraud in order to award punitive damages.

Exxon Mobil maintains that the evidence shows there was no fraud. Also, the size of the punitive damages award "is clearly unconstitutional, grossly excessive and arbitrary," the company said. The award is 149 times the compensatory award.