Sunday, October 29, 2006

Damage Limits at Stake in Tobacco Appeal

Article in the New York Times -- Damage Limits at Stake in Tobacco Appeal, from the Associated Press:

    The question of whether juries should be allowed to award massive punitive
    damages is at stake when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments over an
    $80 million verdict against tobacco giant Philip Morris.

    The Oregon case is widely seen as a test of how the court will interpret previous
    cases on punitive damages -- the additional money intended to punish a company
    or individual for their behavior and act as a deterrent.

    Two key cases have suggested there should be a limit of 9-to-1 or less on punitive
    damages compared to actual or compensatory damages, intended to simply restore
    any financial or economic losses.

    The ruling in Philip Morris v. Williams -- scheduled for oral arguments Tuesday --
    may have a sweeping effect on jury awards beyond the tobacco industry, attracting
    intense interest from corporate America and trial attorneys.


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