Compensatory Damages Punitive Damages

News & Analysis as of

How Concerned Should Insurers be About Punitive Damages in California?

The California Court of Appeal recently published another opinion about the Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance case. The court held to its maximum 10:1 punitive-to-compensatory-damages ratio and analyzed whether this...more

Missouri Supreme Court resets the rules for collecting leaking underground storage tank cleanup costs in litigation

An impactful decision from the Missouri Supreme Court will likely affect how leaking underground storage tank (“UST”) owners collect cleanup costs from the Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund (“Fund”) in the future....more

EEOC Sues Spec Formliners for Pay Discrimination

Concrete Liner Company Failed to Pay Female and Male Sales Representatives Equally, Federal Agency Charges - LOS ANGELES - Spec Formliners, Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif.-based concrete liner company, violated federal law...more

Appeals Court Explains Punitive Damages Awards For Extreme Reprehensibility Or Unusually Small, Hard-To-Detect Or Hard-To-Measure...

In Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co. (No. B234271A, filed 11/3/16), (“Nickerson II”) a California appeals court outlined the requirements for complying with the single-digit multiplier annunciated as a Constitutional...more

EEOC Sues JL Schwieters Construction For Severe Race Harassment

Supervisor Threatened Black Workers With Gun and Noose, Federal Agency Charged - MINNEAPOLIS - A Hugo, Minn., construction company violated federal civil rights law by subjecting African-American employees to a hostile...more

St. Louis Jury Returns Another Jaw-Dropping Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson

In recent years, St. Louis has done much to earn a place on the American Tort Reform Association’s list of judicial hell holes. Not content to rest on its laurels, the St. Louis circuit court grabbed the headlines again last...more

EEOC Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against Akebono Brake Corporation

Company Refused to Hire Woman as Temp Worker Because Her Religion Forbade Her to Wear Trousers, Federal Agency Charges - COLUMBIA, S.C. - Akebono Brake Corporation, a Michigan-based company that designs and manufactures...more

SPINAL TAPPED OUT: Harry Shearer’s Lawsuit is No Laughing Matter

For many of us, This is Spinal Tap remains the benchmark (if not the first great example) of the so-called “Mockumentary” genre of film. Since its first release in 1984 (it had a subsequent theatrical release thereafter) to...more

Ninth Circuit Substantially Reduces Punitive Award Against Walgreen

Things have been quiet in the world of punitive damages for the last few months, but two recent decisions substantially reducing punitive awards under the BMW/State Farm factors warrant mention. My colleague Miriam Nemetz...more

Greektown Casino Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination

Employer Failed to Grant Leave Extension for Employee With Stress-Anxiety Disorder And Fired Him Instead, Federal Agency Charges - DETROIT - A Detroit casino operator violated federal law by denying a reasonable...more

MA Supreme Court Reinforces Employer Obligations on Sexual Harassment

The court’s decision to restore a $500,000 punitive damages award for failure to adequately address a sexual harassment complaint highlights employers’ duty to investigate every allegation and take appropriate remedial...more

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Worsens Headaches for Employers Negotiating Pattern or Practice EEOC Claims

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C., a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the EEOC can seek punitive and compensatory damages for a pattern or practice...more

Health Update - July 2016

The Vulnerability of Healthcare Information - According to a report the Brookings Institute issued in May 2016, 23% of all data breaches occur in the healthcare industry. Nearly 90% of healthcare organizations had some...more

California Supreme Court Clarifies Constitutional Limits on Punitive Damages

In Brandt v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court held that when a plaintiff proves that an insurance company withheld policy benefits in bad faith, attorneys' fees reasonably incurred to compel payment of the...more

Texas Court Of Appeals Reduces $115 Million Punitive Award To A Mere Shadow Of Itself

Courts applying BMW and State Farm often emphasize the Supreme Court’s admonition that the constitutional line is not “marked by a simple mathematical formula”—typically when rejecting a defendant’s argument that the ratio of...more

Quirky Question #285: Potholes on the Ethical “High Road”

Question: We learned that some of our employees may have been engaging in unethical, and perhaps even illegal, behavior. We don’t tolerate this, so we hired a law firm to conduct an investigation, and based on the results...more

Cha-Ching: The High Cost of Failing to Remedy Workplace Discrimination

Last week, Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News anchor, sued Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, accusing him of harassment and sexism. Though Ailes denies the allegations, the trial will be closely followed, both because of the...more

Employment Law Letter - Summer 2016

Last year the General Assembly enacted legislation prohibiting all public and private sector employers from disciplining an employee for “discussing the amount of his or her wages [or] inquiring about the wages of another...more

California Supreme Court Holds That Brandt Fees Awarded Post-Trial By A Court Must Be Included In Denominator Of...

On June 9, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Co., holding that so-called Brandt fees should be treated as compensatory damages when calculating the ratio of...more

Updates On Some Cases About Which We Have Reported

There have been subsequent developments in several cases about which we have posted in recent months. On April 27, 2016, the California Supreme Court denied review in Casey v. Kaiser Gypsum Co., a case in which the...more

Insurance – Bad Faith – Punitive Damages

Thomas Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company - California Supreme Court (June 9, 2016) - Absent special justification, ratios of punitive damages to compensatory damages that greatly exceed 9 or 10 to 1...more

10th Circuit Reverses Punitive Damages Against Property Owner Based on Use of “Reputable” Contractor

As we reported earlier this month, courts sometimes disregard the general rule of non-liability for the conduct of independent contractors, and allow liability to be imposed against principals — including for punitive damages...more

Brandt Fees Increase Allowable Punitive Damages Whether Fees are Awarded by Judge or Jury

In Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co. (No. S213873, filed 6/9/16), the California Supreme Court ruled that in an insurance bad faith case an award of attorney’s fees under Brandt v. Superior Court (1985) 37 Cal.3d 813,...more

Bad Faith Attorneys’ Fees Are Compensatory Damages in Determining Cap On Punitive Damages

On June 9, 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled in Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co., __ Cal.4th ___ (2016) that the attorneys’ fees awarded to a veteran who sued for benefits under a “hospital stay” policy should be...more

Use of ‘Caps’ To Apportion Individual Defendants’ Joint and Several Liability Permitted in Employment Discrimination Action

On April 1, 2016, the United States Court for the District of Connecticut entered judgment on a jury verdict in Bakhit, et. al. v. Safety Markings, Inc. et. al., 3:13-CV-1049, an employment discrimination case, awarding the...more

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