March 30, 2010

Neman v. Elyaszadeh: $1.3 Million in Punitive Damages Affirmed

In this unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Five) affirms a punitive damages award of $1.3 million in an action for breach of contract and fraud arising out of a dispute between the co-owners of a real estate development corporation. The compensatory damages were nearly $13 million.

The defendant argued on appeal that the punitive damages award was procedurally improper because the trial court conducted a bifurcated trial even though the defendant had not requested bifurcation. The Court of Appeal concluded that the defendant had waived the argument because at one point he had filed a trial brief requesting bifurcation.