February 28, 2009

ICO v. Boeing: Trial Court Reduces $237 Million Punitive Damages Award to $207 Million

Last October we reported on the massive $631 judgment against Boeing in a lawsuit brought by ICO Global Communications Ltd., a satellite communications company. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, superior court judge Emilie Elias ruled on Boeing's post-trial motions last Thursday.

The P-I reports that Judge Elias rejected most of Boeing's arguments, but she vacated one finding that Boeing's satellite unit, Boeing Satellite Systems, was liable for fraud and negligent misrepresentation. She upheld the jury's award of $279 million in compensatory damages for breach of contract and a separate award of $91.6 million for fraud and misrepresentation. She also upheld $177 million in punitive damages against Boeing, but halved the $59 million in punitive damages against the satellite unit because of the vacated jury finding.

With $577 million of the judgment still intact, something tells me there will be an appeal. If the Court of Appeal were to affirm the punitive damages award, it would apparently be the sixth largest punitive damages award to survive appeal in the U.S.