Court Orders Review of Rollover Award
Posted May 14, 2007 12:40 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The U.S. Supreme Court today ordered California courts to re-evaluate a multi-million dollar award in a Ford rollover case.
Benetta Buell-Wilson was paralyzed when she swerved to avoid hitting a metal object and her Ford Explorer rolled over. A jury originally awarded her $369 million, but appeals courts cut the award to $82.6 million, including $55 million in punitives, according to the Associated Press.
The high court asked for a re-evalution in light of its February ruling overturning a $79.5 million punitive award to the estate of a smoker. The court said then that jurors may not base a punitive damages award on harm to nonparties, although such harm could be weighed when evaluating the reprehensibility of a defendant’s conduct.