NEW YORK, JUNE 15 -- Entering one of the last legs of its campaign to overturn the $10.5 billion jury verdict that forced it into a bankruptcy filing, Texaco Inc. today sent a major appeals brief to the Texas Supreme Court.
The 352-page brief repeats many of the arguments Texaco has made since November 1985, when a Houston jury found the oil giant guilty of interfering with a merger contract between Pennzoil Co. and Getty Oil Co.
Texaco has insisted since the verdict that a judge in the case gave improper instructions to the jury. The company also has argued that relevant contract law was misapplied during the trial and that the Texas courts have wrongly ignored Securities and Exchange Commission rules that would invalidate Pennzoil's contract claims.
All but $2 billion of the record-setting damages awarded Pennzoil were upheld last February by the Texas Court of Appeals. The judgment outstanding against Texaco now totals about $10.3 billion, with interest.
Texaco sought federal bankruptcy protection in April after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ruling that had allowed Texaco to post just $1 billion in bond while it appealed .
The brief filed by Texaco today contends 130 points of error were made by the Texas appeals panel when it upheld Pennzoil's verdict.
"Texaco asks no special treatment or favors," the company told the Texas high court. "On the contrary, Texaco urgently and respectfully asks this court for the simple justice to which every citizen is entitled."
"They raise nothing new," said Pennzoil's lead lawyer, Joe Jamail.
If the Texas high court denies Texaco's request, or if it upholds Pennzoil's verdict, Texaco can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.