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Punitives award of $100K reinstated (access required)

‘Punishment’ trumps ‘proportionality’

Two plaintiffs suffered minor injuries in an auto accident when their vehicle was struck by a drunken driver talking on a cellphone. A jury awarded plaintiff Victoria Coalson $5,600 and plaintiff Michael Stemke $14,000, and awarded each plaintiff punitive damages of $100,000, but the trial judge reduced Coalson’s punitive damage award to $50,000. The Supreme Court of ...