April 16, 2008

Holdgrafer v. Unocal: Plaintiffs File Petition for Review

The plaintiffs in Holdgrafer v. Unocal filed a petition for review to the California Supreme Court. The petition raises the following two issues: "1. Whether a trial court's determination to admit evidence of a defendant's misconduct towards third parties because it is similar to its conduct towards the plaintiff's is reviewed de novo by the appellate court, as the Court of Appeal held here, or for abuse of discretion, as the Fourth District of the Court of Appeal subsequently held in Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co. (March 10, 2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1107, 1130-1131? 2. Whether the federal due process requirement that, 'upon request,' juries must be instructed that punitive damage awards may not be used to directly punish harm to third parties (though that harm may be considered in determining the reprehensibility of the defendant's conduct), requires reversal where the defendant's proposed instruction is inaccurate and incomplete?"

We have previously blogged about this opinion here. Disclosure: As we have mentioned before, our firm is counsel for the defendants in this case.