March 3, 2016

California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in punitive damages case on April 7 (Nickerson v. Stonebridge Insurance)

The Supreme Court granted review in this case way back in December of 2013, and many of our readers may have forgotten that the Supreme Court of California has a punitive damages case on its docket.

When the Supreme Court first granted review, they agreed to decide several issues raised by the petitioner, including whether California courts can disregard the constitutional limitations on punitive damages if they conclude that the constitutional maximum is not high enough to deter the defendant from repeating its misconduct.  Eventually, however, the Supreme Court decided to limit the scope of its review considerably, focusing only on this issue specific to punitive damages in insurance bad faith cases:

Is an award of attorney fees under Brandt v. Superior Court (1985) 37 Cal.3d 813 properly included as compensatory damages for purposes of calculating the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages where the fees are awarded by the jury, but excluded from compensatory damages when they are awarded by the trial court after the jury has rendered its verdict?
Argument is scheduled for Thursday, April 7 at 9:00 am.

Related posts:

California Supreme Court limits issues for review in Nickerson v. Stonebridge

California Supreme Court grants review in Nickerson v. Stonebridge

Court of Appeal orders reduction of $19M punitive damages award to $350,000 (Nickerson v. Stonebridge) - PART II

Court of Appeal orders reduction of $19M punitive damages award to $350,000 (Nickerson v. Stonebridge) - PART I

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