U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Punitive Damages Award

Many media outlets and bloggers are reporting that punitive damages awarded in the Williams vs. Philip Morris saga will remain at their 100-1 ratio of actual, or compensatory, damages.

This is great news for:

  • plaintiffs that are brave enough to take on these huge corporations;
  • wait for their day in court, sometimes years; and
  • then have vindication from a group of their peers (jury) as to what they believe the case to be worth.

I think it is important to understand that these “Big Verdicts” or “Runaway Juries” , as described by biased media outlets, come from:

  • a group of people from the community;
  • that sit and listen to both sides for however long it takes; and
  • then make their decision based upon all the information they are presented.

This case went to the highest court in the United States, three (3) times, after already having been deemed just by the Oregon State Court.  That is what big business can buy you. However, this decision helps alleviate any concerns that justice can be bought and paid for, too.

Thanks to Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog for such an in depth analysis of punitive damages and this case.

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