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A video explaining checks when assessing punitive damages



Watch the full video at https://youtu.be/j21ZRI2fdkM [1965653] The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that "[p] uniform damages can be imposed to further a state's legitimate interests in punishing illegally. behavior and discourage its recurrence. ”[ BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore 517 US 559] These damages often exceed the fine imposed by the State if the same person had acted criminally to harm the plaintiff. The jury assesses the enormous damages as they are inflamed by the defendant's misconduct and agrees with the lawyer's suggestion that the jury "teach the defendant a lesson" to prevent it from doing the same to others.The argument has been successful in thousands of suits brought from Vermont to California and Florida to Washington.

For several years, fines were unlimited, with a compensation claim of $ 40 resulting in a judgment of $ 5,000,000.00. rder dollars in criminal damages without limitation from the courts in addition to the defendant's wealth.

In 2003, the United States Supreme Court imposed limited criminal damages in the United States when State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell 123 S.Ct. 1513, 538 U.S. Pat. 408, 155 L.Ed.2d 585 (U.S. 04/07/2003) by 6-3 votes, overturned a $ 145 million judgment against an insurance company. The Supreme Court ruled that $ 145 million in criminal damages, where full compensation was $ 1 million, was excessive and violated the fourteenth amendment clause.

Justice Kennedy, who wrote for the majority, restricted state and federal courts from awarding huge criminal awards and concluded that a punitive damage awarded to more than a single-digit multiplier of compensation compensation would rarely, if ever, pass the test for due diligence. process. The Supreme Court, in the BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore above, specified specific tests that must be met before criminal damages can meet the requirements of due process.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell, above cases arose due to a car accident in which one party was killed and another seriously injured. Campbells, insured by State Farm, tried to pass six vehicles on a two-lane highway, failed and had the driver of an oncoming car drive off the road to avoid a collision with Campbell's vehicle. Campbells had only $ 25,000 coverage per person and $ 50,000 in total. Campbells felt they were not wrong because there was no contact between the two vehicles. State Farm ignored the advice of its adjuster and lawyer to accept policy restrictions and took the case to court. The verdict at the trial was more than $ 180,000 and State Farm was appointed as a lawyer telling Campbells to release their house on the market because they would need the money to pay the verdict. State Farm refused to pay the verdict and to finance an appeal. Campbells retained his personal advice to pursue an unsuccessful appeal, entered into an agreement with the appellants in which the appellants agreed not to carry out their assessment in exchange for an assignment of 90% of all money received in an unfaithful act by Campbells against State Farm. Before the lawsuit was filed, State Farm paid the full judgment.


© 2020 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to employment as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims settlement, insurance claims and insurance fraud almost equal for insurers. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award.

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