Last week, the Louisiana Court of Appeal issued this opinion (Rachal v. Brouillette) increasing a jury's award of punitive damages against a drunk driver from $100,000 to $500,000. This opinion caught our eye because the idea of an appellate court increasing a jury's award of punitive damages is literally unheard of in California. Sometimes a California appellate court will disagree with a trial court's decision to reduce a jury's award, and will reinstate all or part of the original award. But a California court would never increase the punitive damages above what the jury awarded.
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