Punitive Damage Guidelines

Punitive Damage - Punitive Damage Guidelines Stephen Hunt Jr State Farm Mutual Ins v Campbell Facts The Campbells were in an accident and were

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Punitive Damage Guidelines © Stephen Hunt, Jr. 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. -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. the tortious conduct evinced an indifference to or a reckless disregard of the health or safety of others. c. the target of the conduct had financial vulnerability. d. the conduct involved repeated actions or was an isolated event. e. and the harm was the result of intentional malice, trickery, or deceit, or mere accident. It should be further presumed that a plaintiff has been made whole for his injuries by compensatory damages, so punitive damages should only be awarded if the defendant’s culpability is so reprehensible as to warrant the imposition of further sanctions to achieve punishment or deterrence. This case was used as a platform to punish State Farm’s actions throughout the country. This was addressed in BMW v. Gore and in Phillips Petroleum v. Shutts where the court stated that : “Any proper adjudication of conduct that occurred outside Utah to other persons would require their inclusion in the action, and the laws of the relevant jurisdictions would have to be applied. 2)
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course LAW Civ Pro I taught by Professor Colangelo during the Spring '08 term at SMU.

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Punitive Damage - Punitive Damage Guidelines Stephen Hunt Jr State Farm Mutual Ins v Campbell Facts The Campbells were in an accident and were

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