June 21, 2012

Los Angeles jury awards $18M in punitive damages in asbestos case, on top of $30 million compensatory damages

A jury in Los Angeles has awarded $18 million in punitive damages in an asbestos personal injury case against Dow Chemical subsidiary Union Carbide, according to this press release from the plaintiff's lawyers.  (Izell v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., LASC no. BC469931.)

The jury had previously awarded $30 million in compensatory damages, consisting entirely of non-economic damages (pain and suffering).  Because the jury allocated 60 percent to fault to Union Carbide, it will be responsible for $18 million in compensatory damages, resulting in a one to one ratio of punitive to compensatory damages.

By my count, this is the third largest punitive damages award of the year in California.

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