Wednesday, May 28, 2008
No word yet in Philip Morris v. Williams, the Oregon punitive damages case upholding a 100 to 1 ratio despite remand from the U.S. Supreme Court. The petition for certiorari was distributed for discussion at the Justice's conference on May 22d, but was not mentioned on the orders list [pdf] released yesterday.
Notably, as former Chief Justice Rehnquist explained in his book (and elsewhere), petitions of interest to any Justice are placed on the "discuss list" for the conference; petitions not listed on the discuss list are denied. So presumably Philip Morris made the discuss list for the May 22d conference. It's possible that the Court is holding the Philip Morris petition pending its decision in Exxon v. Baker. SCOTUS Blog has listed Philip Morris as a "petition to watch," which means that Akim Gump partner Tom Goldstein has deemed it "to have a reasonable chance of being granted."