Punitive Damages

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell stupidly decided that due process required punitive damages should be a single digit ratio to compensatory damages. In that case, the Supreme Court overturned a punitive damages award with a 145-to-1 ratio to compensatory damages.

Recently Reuters had an article about a Pennsylvania case challenging the constitutionality of the amount of punitive damages a jury can award.  A jury awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages and $2.8 million in punitive damages. The verdict was upheld on appeal.

Defendant argues the Supreme Court should cap punitive damages awards further. The amount should be no more than the amount of the compensatory damages. A 1 to 1 ratio. Defendant argues that higher damages violated the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause.

The case is The Burt Co al v. Turk, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, No. 13 WAP 2022.