February 5, 2015

Georgia judge reduces $47.9 million punitive damages award to $250,000 under statutory cap, plaintiff vows to challenge constitutionality of cap

Last month we reported on a huge $47.9 million punitive damages award out of Georgia, in a case involving a plaintiff who was severely burned in a gas explosion in an apartment he leased from the defendants.  As noted in our earlier report, Georgia law caps punitive damages at $250,000 in most cases.  It therefore comes as no surprise to see this story in the Daily Report, saying that the judge has reduced the punitive damages award to $250,000.

According to the story, the trial judge rejected an attack on the constitutionality of the statute.  The plaintiff is planning to appeal that ruling and has already lined up appellate counsel, who says he will  take the case to the Georgia Supreme Court.  Plaintiffs haven't had much luck with those arguments in most states, but they succeeded in the Missouri Supreme Court just last year.  This case will be worth watching if it goes up on appeal.