Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Punitives Cut in Poisoning Case
Several months ago a jury awarded $100 million in punitive damages against a woman who poisoned her husband and set up the scene to look somewhat like American Beauty. The punitives were awarded specifically to ensure that the defendant (serving a prison sentence now) not profit from movies, books, etc., relating to her crime. The case was equally notable for the fact that the jury held her employer (San Diego County) 25% liable for failing to do a drug or background check on her before hiring her as a toxicologist (noted here).
Today it's being reported that the judge, with the plaintiffs' assent, reduced the punitives award to $10 million under State Farm, but apparently has let the $1.5 million judgment against the county stand. The defendant maintains her innocence and is appealing her criminal conviction.