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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
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Billion-dollar jury verdicts disappear after appeals, new rulings.

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Bloomberg News (1/8, Fisk) reported, "The billion-dollar jury verdict has disappeared from U.S. courtrooms" according to Bloomberg data. Bloomberg notes that, "because of changes in legal rulings, punitive-damage verdicts can be thrown out if they far exceed actual damages" and "some lawyers don’t seek amounts that clearly violate the rules." However, "the lower threat of high punitive damages has helped corporate defendants by taking away an incentive to settle out of court." Bloomberg says, "The U.S. Supreme Court has chipped away at punitive damages for several years, most recently with its June decision in the Exxon Valdez oil-spill case where it replaced a $2.5 billion punitive judgment with one for $507 million." The court ruled that "punitive damages, designed to punish, can’t legally be as much as 10 times actual damages, except in ‘particularly egregious’ cases."