California Tobacco Verdict Reduced Again

A San Francisco jury had originally awarded smoker Patricia Henley $1.5 million in compensatory and $50 million in punitive damages against Phillip Morris. The case subsequently had two trips through the state appellate courts to the California Supreme Court. First, the punitives were reduced from $50 million to $25 million. Today, the First District Court of Appeal held that, unless plaintiff accepts a further reduction of the punitive damages to $9 million in light of State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. __ (2003), the issue of punitive damages will have to be retried yet again. The court's opinion is here.