Inside Counsel magazine on punitive damages

by Ted Frank on February 20, 2009

Inside Counsel magazine’s March 2009 issue quotes me (and mentions this blog) in a story about punitive damages and a Third Circuit ruling imposing a 1-to-1 limit on punitive damages in a bad-faith-failure-to-settle case, Jurinko v. Medical Protective Co. (albeit in a mysteriously unpublished decision). (Lauren Williamson, “Court Imposes 1-to-1 Punitive Damages Ratio”, Inside Counsel, March 2009; see also Shannon P. Duffy, “3rd Circuit Slashes Punitives, Imposes 1-1 Ratio”, Legal Intelligencer, Dec. 30.) I do take issue with the line “The decision continues a trend of appeals courts beginning to rein in punitive damage awards when there is no physical injury or ‘reprehensible’ behavior.” A 1-to-1 ratio isn’t “reining in” punitive damages awards in such cases, because just a generation ago, the ratio for such situations was zero-to-one, because punitive damages were to be limited to intentional or particularly reprehensible conduct. As I feared a few months ago, the 1-to-1 ratio “ceiling” the Supreme Court suggested in Exxon Shipping v. Baker has become a benchmark.

The magazine also has a short interview with Andrew Frey, the Mayer Brown litigator who has argued several Supreme Court punitive damages cases.

{ 1 comment }

1 Jeremy 02.20.09 at 9:09 am

Hmm, here’s a story from my neck of the woods: http://www.jconline.com/article/20090219/NEWS03/902190348/1001/NEWS

Plaintiff got $157 million, where they had asked for only about $1.5 million in compensatory damages. This is why defendants should show up in court, I guess.

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