November 18, 2014

California federal jury awards $185 million in punitive damages in pregnancy discrimination case (Juarez v. AutoZone)

ABC10 News in San Diego is reporting that a federal court jury has awarded a staggering $185 million in punitive damages in a pregnancy and gender discrimination case against AutoZone.  The compensatory damages award was $900,000.

There's no chance that punitive damages award survives post-trial and appellate review.  It is more than three times higher than the largest punitive damages award ever affirmed in California.

The ABC10 story reports that the punitive damages award is $25 million more than the plaintiff's attorneys requested.  That means they asked for $160 million in punitive damages in a case with a $900,000 compensatory damages award.  They would have been better off asking for a more modest amount, which might have stood a chance of surviving judicial review.