Quote of the Day - Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion.
MIPTC predicted more lawsuits, and it turned out to be true. Now, a jury has given the City of Modesto a temporary receivable of $175 million in punitive damages for perchloroethlyene contamination in the City's groundwater. The original jury award was just over $3.1 million to clean up the contamination. They City had asked for $4 million against chemical manufacturers Dow and Vulcan.
I say temporary because the punitive damages award is about 55 times higher than the compensatory damages. Relatively recent Supreme Court rulings established a 9:1 limit for punitive damages, so it's likely that the trial court will reduce the punitive damage award. If not there, then on appeal, which is sure to follow a verdict of this sort.
This first-of-its-kind verdict is unusual in that it appears that the jury disregarded Dow and Vulcan's arguments asserting state-of-the-art defenses for the level of knowledge that existed when the chemicals were being used and warnings provided by the manufacturers. Predicting an appeal is a gimme, but MIPTC won't go out on a limb to predict the outcome. I'll keep you posted, however.