On June 16, 2005, the Supreme Court of California rejected a $10 million punitive damages award in a consumer fraud case, ruling that the trial court had erred by basing the award on the disgorgement of all profits earned by the defendant during its alleged wrongful conduct against consumers who were not involved in the case. The Washington Legal Foundation had filed a brief opposing the punitive damages award. The lawsuit was filed under California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, which requires various disclosures to car buyers and requires various remedies for consumers who experience persistent trouble with a newly-purchased car. The dealer in the case was found to have significantly misrepresented the repair record of a used Ford Taurus. The purchasers of the car brought suit against Ford Motor Co. At trial, the jury awarded compensatory damages of $17,811.60 as well as the $10 million punitive award.
Johnson v. Ford