TorteDeForm

Eric Turkewitz

Philip Morris Punitive Damages Decision — Why It Was Good For Plaintiffs

Cross-posted from NY Personal Injury Law Blog

Much has now been written about the Supreme Court tossing out a $79.5M punitive damage award against Philip Morris in a smoking case where the compensatory damages were $821,000. Philip Morris v. Williams has been greeted by most as a victory for big business in limiting such awards (here, here and here). But it was not.

The key to understanding this is that Justice Stevens dissented. Stevens had formed part of the 6-3 majority in State Farm v. Campbell -- the last significant ruling on the law of punitive damages -- and State Farm had discussed much smaller ratios of compensatory to punitive damages, of 4-1 and 9-1. (keep reading)

Eric Turkewitz: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 4:23 PM, Feb 23, 2007 in
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Comments

When laws restore the accountability of the cult criminals to adverse third parties, I want no limits on punitive damages. All cult criminals must pay the adverse third parties injured by lawyer carelessness to the last button on the last shirt.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | February 23, 2007 8:40 PM

Eric: Spin like a top if you want. Tort reform commands a majority on the Court today. This decision reforms torts massively.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | February 25, 2007 10:40 AM