On April 7, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $145 million punitive damage award against an insurance company, issued after the company declined to settle a liability claim against one of its insureds. Noting that the plaintiff suffered no out-of-pocket damages and that the jury awarded him only $1 million in emotional distress damages, the Court ruled that a $145 million punitive damages award was so grossly excessive as to violate the Due Process Clause. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief in the case urging that the $145 million award be set aside. The Court ruled that in cases of this sort, punitive damage awards could rarely be justified in an amount greater that the remedial damages granted to the plaintiff.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Campbell