January 4, 2012

Mississippi judge vacates $300 million punitive damages award after disqualification of original trial judge

Earlier this year, a Mississippi jury awarded $300 million in punitive damages and $22 million in compensatory damages to a man who claimed he developed asbestosis as a result of working with drilling mud additives.  That award was reportedly the largest verdict in U.S. history for an individual asbestos plaintiff.  But it didn't last very long.  A new trial judge has vacated that award and ordered a new trial, according to this Associated Press report (via the Witchita Eagle).  It seems that the original judge failed to disclose that his parents had been involved in asbestos litigation against the same defendants.  The Mississippi Supreme Court removed that judge from the case and appointed a new judge, who ordered a retrial.