A federal jury’s award of $30 million in punitive damages that was slashed down to $2 million by the trial judge has now been slashed again — to $750,000 — by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds that a punitive award that is 18 times greater than the compensatory damages is unconstitutionally excessive.
“Heeding the Supreme Court’s admonition that few awards exceeding the single-digit threshold will satisfy due process, we conclude that the 18:1 ratio in this case crosses the line into constitutional impropriety,” U.S. Circuit Judge Kent A. Jordan wrote in CGB Occupational Therapy Inc. v. RHA/Pennsylvania Nursing Homes Inc.
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