Punitive Damage Guidelines

Punitive Damage Guidelines - -1- PUNITIVE DAMAGE GUIDELINES...

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- 1 - P UNITIVE D AMAGE G UIDELINES State Farm Mutual Ins. v. Campbell Facts: The Campbell’s were in an accident and were assured by State Farm that they did not need independent council and that they had no liability. The jury found that the Campbell’s were 100% liable and found damages against them for $185,849.00. This was $135,849.00 over their policy limit, which SF refused to cover. The Campbell’s agreed to pursue a bad faith claim against SF with the help of the opposing council of the original case. Although SF eventually paid out the entire verdict, a jury found for the Campbells in the bad faith claim, awarding $1million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punative damages. Issue: Whether the punative damages award was excessive and in violation of the DP Clause of the 14 th amendment. Held: Yes, per BMW v. Gore and Cooper Industries cases. Appellate courts were mandated in Cooper to conduct de novo review of a trial court’s application of the guideposts set out in BMW to the jury’s award. 1) The degree of reprehensibility of a punitive damages award should consider the following: Whether; a. the harm caused was physical as opposed to economic. b.
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Punitive Damage Guidelines - -1- PUNITIVE DAMAGE GUIDELINES...

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