July 30, 2009

$25 Million Punitive Damages Award in Riverside Employment Case

The Riverside Press-Enterprise is reporting that a jury has awarded $916,000 in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages in an age discrimination case against Sears Holdings. The plaintiff, a former manager of a KMart store, claims he was fired as part of a company-wide policy of replacing older workers with "fresh blood."

The 27.3-to-1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages is suspect, to say the least. Not surprisingly, Sears says it plans to file posttrial motions and, if necessary, an appeal.