May 31, 2006
Supreme Court Will Review Another Punitive Damages Award
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a verdict in an Oregon case awarding $79.5 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris. That amount is nearly 100 times the jury's original $821,485 compensatory award. The Oregon Supreme Court allowed the verdict to stand in a February ruling, finding that the award was not excessive even in light of the guidelines set forth in State Farm v. Campbell and Gore v. BMW suggesting that punitive damages should rarely exceed a 9-1 ratio to compensatory awards. The Supreme Court's guidelines in Campbell appear to often have been ignored by state courts reviewing punitive damages awards. With two new justices, perhaps the court will now decide that it is necessary to be more explicit in setting constitutional limits on such awards. See stories by the Associated Press and by Tony Mauro for Legal Times.
May 31, 2006 | Permalink
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