April 1, 2014

Billionaire loses his $12M punitive damages award in fake wine case

Reuters reports (via the Huffington Post) that a federal judge in New York has vacated the $12 million punitive damages that a jury awarded to billionaire William Koch in his lawsuit alleging he was duped into buying 24 bottles of phony wine.

We reported on the jury's $12 million punitive damages award back in April 2013.   The Reuters story doesn't reveal why the posttrial motion process has taken so long, but the story reports that U.S.District Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York found the punitive damages award excessive in relation to the compensatory damages.  Judge Oetken reduced the compensatory damages from $355,811 to $212,699, and ordered a new trial on punitive damages unless Koch agrees to accept a reduced amount of  $711,622 (a ratio of about 3.3 to one).