September 12, 2015

Florida juries continue to make news with big punitive damages awards

California has a reputation for headline-grabbing jury awards, especially when it comes to punitive damages.  But Florida juries make a lot of headlines of their own, as illustrated by several news stories this week. 

Florida juries handed out two mega-verdicts involving punitive damages in the past few days.  NBC6 of South Florida reports that a jury awarded $2.4 million in compensatory damages and $15 million against a produce grower in an employment discrimination lawsuit. That comes just one day after Law 360 (subscription required) reported that a jury awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris in a lawsuit brought by the family of a smoker.

In some consolation for Florida defendants, JDJournal reports that the Eleventh Circuit overturned an $11 million judgment, including $8.5 million in punitive damages, in a lawsuit alleging that a medical supply company violated anti-kickback laws by giving away free urine specimen cups to doctors.  (Yep, a Florida jury thought sort of conduct warranted hefty punitive damages).

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