LII Bulletin Previews Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Williams Oral Argument to Occur Before the Supreme Court October 31st
Cornell’s LII Bulletin has posted the following preview of the oral argument slated to take place in Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Williams (05-1256) before the Supreme Court:
DUE PROCESS, PUNITIVE DAMAGES, PRODUCT LIABILITY, TOBACCO LITIGATION, REPREHENSIBILITY
Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Williams (05-1256)
Oral Argument Date: October 31, 2006
Mayola Williams brought suit against Philip Morris U.S.A. alleging that Philip Morris fraudulently and negligently caused the death of her husband, who smoked Philip Morris cigarettes for over forty years. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed a trial jury’s punitive damages award of $79.5 million. Philip Morris contends that the punitive damages award was unconstitutionally excessive because it was not reasonably related to Mr. Williams’ injuries. Williams argues that the Oregon Supreme Court was within its discretion to affirm the trial jury’s punitive damages award because the award conformed with many of the guidelines for determining reasonable damages, and those guidelines are the most important factor. This decision will impact punitive damages calculation in product liability and other tort cases.
The full preview is available here.