U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2008 Term

Oral Argument Date

December 03, 2008


Questions Presented

1. Whether, after this Court has adjudicated the merits of a party’s federal claim and remanded the case to state court with instructions to “apply” the correct constitutional standard, the state court may interpose—for the first time in the litigation—a state-law procedural bar that is neither firmly established nor regularly followed.

2. Whether a punitive damages award that is 97 times the compensatory damages may be upheld on the ground that the reprehensibility of a defendant’s conduct can “override” the constitutional requirement that punitive damages be reasonably related to the plaintiffs harm.

Case Updates

Supreme Court decides scope of remand in punitive damages cases

March 31, 2009

The Supreme Court dismissed this case as improvidently granted. As a result, a decision by the Oregon Supreme Court upholding a $79 million punitive damages order will stand.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

August 20, 2008

The Oregon Supreme Court stepped out of bounds when it invented a state procedural bar to bypass the U.S. Supreme Court’s instructions to apply federal constitutional laws regarding punitive damages, NCLC argued in its brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. NCLC warned that if the decision was not reversed, it would severely undermine the predictability of legal rules on which businesses rely, leading to even more outrageous punitive damages awards.

Case Documents