November 16, 2010

Stewart v. Union Carbide: $6 million punitive damages award affirmed

In this published opinion, the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Five) affirms a $6 million punitive damages award to a plaintiff who recovered $2.7 million in compensatory damages.

This opinion bucks the trend of California appellate decisions over the past few years, which have consistently applied the rule that the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages cannot exceed one-to-one when the compensatory damages award is "substantial." In keeping with the usual practices on this blog, I won't comment further because our firm represents the defendant and the litigation is ongoing.