Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, imposed further restrictions on punitive damages awards, holding that the award cannot penalize the defendant for harm done to non-parties. While punitive damages are not allowed in federal securities claims, they may be awarded in some state securities claims and in arbitration cases against brokerage firms. Recently, there have been some judicial opinions holding that due process limits on punitive damages awards are applicable in arbitration, even though there is no state action. For discussion of the Phillips Morris v. Williams decision, see WSJ, High Court Throws Out Verdict Against Philip Morris.