(CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal from Shell Oil to review a $54 million punitive damages award over a royalties dispute that dates back to the 1970s.
Trustees of royalty owners sued Shell for not paying $750,000 in royalties under an Oklahoma lease from 1973 to 1985.
The jury added 12 percent a year in interest, which put compensatory damages at over $13 million.
Shell argued on that a Texas Federal Court decision to award $53.6 million in punitive damages was excessive since it was 70 times the principal damage amount of $750,708.
The jury then added the punitive damages for a total award of $67 million.
The case was Shell Oil Co. v. Hebble (10-349).