Thursday, April 10, 2014

Comments on the $9 billion verdict

Yesterday I reported that a jury in Louisiana had awarded what someone called "maybe largest monetary award ever" against a pharmaceutical company for injuries caused by the drug Actos.  

Whatever its place in history, the verdict has generated some debate.  The defendant quickly responded by announcing it would appeal the verdict.  Others have provided additional commentary.  The TortsProf blog opined that "[b]ecause of the presumptive single-digit Due Process ratio, there is a strong possibility the punies will at least be reduced."  An article in Reuters agrees.

On the other hand, although agreeing that the amount of the verdict is likely to be reduced, Eric Turkewitz of the NY Personal Injury Law Blog, thinks an award of much more than a "single-digit ratio" can be justified.  His conclusion:  "So what will happen in the Actos litigation? I think that a punitive damage award of 100x or greater is in the cards if the plaintiffs satisfy the court that the conduct was reprehensible ... And I also think that, given the significant document destruction that led to that whopper of an award, that satisfying that element won’t be too difficult. Assuming that the $1.5M in compensatory damages aren’t touched, I think that ultimately a punitive award of $150M+ is sustainable under current law."

No comments: