Sunday, October 29, 2006
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.