Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Fortune's Legal Pad has a good look at it. The lede:
Whenever the U.S. Supreme Court sets aside a punitive damages award on constitutional grounds, I suppose it must be seen as a victory for business. Still, while the Court's 5-4 ruling today in Philip Morris v. Williams definitely qualifies--the Court set aside a $79.5 million punitive damage award that an Oregon state jury had tried to award the widow of one individual smoker--it's a narrow ruling and, frankly, a confusing one.
I've read it another couple of times since this morning and continue to find it similarly confusing. Or maybe "confusing" isn't the right word -- how about "prone to causing confusion and difficult to imagine trial courts finding helpful"? That's not bad, though it doesn't have much rhythm to it.