May 5, 2016

Nebraska jury awards $2.4 billion in punitive damages

10 11 News of Nebraska is reporting that a state court jury has awarded $2.6 billion, including $2.4 billion in punitive damages, to a father whose daughter was allegedly murdered by the defendant.  This is a symbolic award, as the defendant is in prison and presumably doesn't have $2.6 billion laying around.


  1. Evan Tager5/6/16, 5:19 AM

    I had always been under the impression that punitive damages are not permitted in Nebraska. And my quick Google search today did not disclose anything to the contrary. Do you have any sense of the basis on which the court permitted the jury to impose punitive damages?

    1. There may be some disagreement about whether the Nebraska constitution prohibits punitive damages, or whether it allows them so long as they are paid to the state's education fund and not to a private litigant. The plaintiffs' attorney in this case happens to be the author of an article taking the latter view. See Vincent M. Powers, Punitive Damages in Nebraska, The Nebraska Lawyer 18 (June 2003).