A few months ago we blogged about the unpublished opinion in Trealoff v. Forest River, which upheld a trial court's determination that a $15 million punitive damages award should be reduced to $7 million. Today the California Supreme Court denied the defendants' petition for review.
Here are the issues that the Supreme Court declined to review:
1. Whether emotional distress standing alone constitutes “physical harm” for purposes of determining the constitutionality of punitive damages when the distress is not severe and consists entirely of the plaintiffs undiagnosed, untreated, and self-proclaimed emotional injury?
2. Whether the reprehensibility of a defendant's conduct for purposes of determining the constitutionality of punitive damages may be assessed with reference to unrelated acts that underlie multiple claims alleged by the plaintiff?
3. Whether exclusion of evidence tending to negate the existence of malice by a defendant violates its due-process rights and is contrary to long-standing precedents holding such evidence to be presumptively admissible?