September 25, 2008

West Virginia Supreme Court Agrees to Review $196.2 Million Punitive Damages Award Against Dupont

According to the West Virginia Record, the West Virginia Supreme Court has decided to hear a case involving a $400 million judgment, including $196.2 in punitive damages, against DuPont. The case involves claims by residents of Harrison County that DuPont poisoned the area around its Spelter plant with zinc, cadmium and arsenic. Read our prior posts about the case here.

The Supreme Court's decision to grant review will forestall, at least temporarily, any resolution of the question whether West Virginia violates due process by not affording appellate review of punitive damages as a matter of right.

The grant of review probably will not, however, dissipate the controversy over Gov. Joe Manchin's decision to get involved in the case by filing an amicus brief asking the court to consider hearing cases with large punitive damages awards.