Monday, October 30, 2006
The Supreme Court hears oral argument tomorrow in Philip Morris v. Mayola Williams, concerning due process limits on punitive damages. Because the appeal addresses whether a jury may punish a defendant for harm to non-parties, it may prove enormously significant for punitives in a wide range of mass torts including asbestos, Vioxx, and Prempro, as well as in civil rights and consumer fraud cases. For those interested in a preview, here are a few useful links:
Here at the Mass Tort Litigation Blog, you can find info on the case here (with link to Sebok analysis), here (with news report), and here (with link to audio for the argument in State Farm v. Campbell). Here's the Oregon Supreme Court decision. Oyez will have the oral argument audio when it becomes available, and has an abstract. Medill has a handy case summary, and Tony Mauro wrote a Legal Times article on the upcoming argument. The Tobacco Control Resource Center provides an anti-tobacco perspective in its case backgrounder. Ted Frank, skeptical of aggregated punitive damages, wrote an analysis for the American Enterprise Institute and offers additional links on Point of Law here and here. Among law blogs, you'll find the Williams case addressed at Products Liability Prof Blog, at TortsProf, at ScotusBlog, and at WSJ Law Blog.