January 16, 2015

Georgia jury awards $47.9 million in punitive damages

The Daily Report of Fulton County, Georgia is reporting that a jury there has awarded $72.8 million to a school teacher who was burned after a gas line in his apartment exploded. He sued his landlord, claiming that the explosion was caused by the landlord's violation of building codes.  The verdict consists of $17.9 million in compensatory damages, $47.9 million in punitive damages, and $7 million in attorney fees. 

A Georgia statute limits punitive damages to $250,000 except in products liability cases, cases involving a specific intent to harm, and cases where the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  None of those exceptions would seem to apply here.