U.S. Supreme Court to hear argument in Oregon punitive damages case

By Lori Irish Bauman
December 2, 2008

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an appeal from the Oregon Supreme Court.  In Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Williams, a Multnomah County jury awarded $79.5 million in punitive damages -- equal to 97 times compensatory damages -- to the widow of a smoker.  This is the third time the U.S. Supreme Court has considered the case; at issue now is whether the Oregon Supreme Court properly upheld the award based on a state procedural rule, instead of applying federal due process standards.

See our earlier coverage of the case here and here.  And see a preview of the argument from Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute here.


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