Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In his latest FindLaw column, Tony Sebok addresses the Oregon Supreme Court's decision to again affirm a $79.5 million punitive damages award against Philip Morris following remand by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As Sebok points out, "[t]he Oregon Supreme Court held that reinstatement of the award was appropriate because there were independent and adequate state law grounds for doing so." But, as Sebok notes, "[t]hose grounds had never been previously identified by the Oregon Supreme Court in its two earlier decisions (the ones that had been reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.)" Sebok argues that the Oregon Supreme Court put "form over substance" in a results-oriented fashion in order to avoid "giving a victory to a hated tobacco-company defendant." While Sebok finds it unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will grant cert in this case for the third time, he expresses his hope that the USSC will GVR the case because "[t]hat would be a fitting response to a state court that seems to think that winning is the only thing that matters."