March 25, 2008

Holdgrafer v Unocal—Plaintiffs' Petition for Rehearing Pending on Various Punitive Damages Issues

We've previously discussed the recent Holdgrafer opinion reversing a $5 million punitive damages award because it was tainted by improperly admitted evidence of defendant's dissimilar conduct toward nonparties. Plaintiffs have filed a petition for rehearing taking scattershot aim at the appellate decision. Plaintiffs argue, among other things, that the opinion "errs in holding that a de novo standard of review applies to the trial court's determination of similarity of conduct," and that the Court of Appeal's "legal standards for determining whether conduct is 'similar' are too narrow."

The Court of Appeal has 30 days from the date of the opinion (i.e., until April 3) to rule on the rehearing petition. You can follow the progress on the court's online docket.