September 11, 2012

L.A. jury awards $20 million in punitive damages to casino mogul Steve Wynn

The Associated Press is reporting that, this afternoon, a Los Angeles jury awarded $20 million in punitive damages to casino mogul Steve Wynn in his lawsuit against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis.  That's on top of the $20 million the jury awarded yesterday for compensatory damages.  The jury found that Francis defamed Wynn by falsely stating that Wynn had threatened to kill him.

The AP story quotes Francis' attorney as saying that the jury should not have awarded punitive damages because Wynn failed to produce any evidence of Francis' financial condition.  As readers of this blog know, California appellate courts often reverse punitive damages awards on that basis.  But that article also states that "Francis did not provide financial records to Wynn's attorney."  That suggests Wynn may be arguing that Francis waived any right to complain about the lack of financial condition evidence because Francis failed to comply with a court order to produce his financial records.  I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about this one.