April 30, 2010

$200 Million Punitive Damages Verdict in Los Angeles Asbestos Case

Yesterday, a Los Angeles jury awarded $8.8 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages in an asbestos case against Certainteed Corporation and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP). (The case is Evans v. AW Chesterton Co et al., case no. BC418867.)

It's not clear to me whether the punitive damages were assessed against both defendants, or just one of them. Either way, the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages is 22.7 to 1. If that award remains intact through posttrial motions and appeal (not likely), it would dwarf the largest punitive damages award ever to to survive appeal in California ($55 million in Buell-Wilson v. Ford).

Hat tip: CVN Blog.

UPDATE: The Recorder (via Law.com) has a story on this verdict.