June 16, 2011

Nguyen v. Do: $50,000 punitive damages award reversed for lack of meaningful financial condition evidence

We haven't seen one of these for a few months, but here's the latest unpublished opinion in which the California Court of Appeal (Sixth District) reverses a punitive damages award because the plaintiff failed to introduce meaningful evidence of the defendant's financial condition. Here's the court's description of the evidence that proved to be inadequate:

The evidence . . .  showed only that Tam had a net income of $29,072 in 2008, no assets other than a 2004 Porsche Cayenne, and liabilities consisting of $34,000 owed to vendors and employees of SaigonUSA and a annual loss of $20,000 in operating SaigonUSA. No evidence was presented with regard to Tam’s income in years other than 2008, or as to the existence of any bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments. Thus, the evidence showed only that Tam’s current liabilities exceeded his 2008 income and he has no assets other than a 2004 Porsche Cayenne of unknown value.