U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



Cert. Denied

Lower Court Opinion

Oklahoma Court of Appeals


Questions Presented

1. Whether, in calculating the ratio of punitive damages to harm to the plaintiff, heightened penalties such as 12% interest imposed to compel compliance may be treated as “compensatory.”

2. Whether, in determining the maximum punitive damages award in a case involving a substantial compensatory award and only economic harm, courts should be guided by the 1-to-1 ratio mentioned in State Farm or instead presume that anything within the range of 4-to-1 is permissible.

Case Updates

Cert. petition denied

December 13, 2010

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to review excessive punitive damages award case

November 12, 2010

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to decide whether a punitive damages award that was 71 times larger than the compensatory damages violates the Due Process Clause. In 2008, an Oklahoma jury levied $53 million in punitive damages against Shell for allegedly violating a fiduciary duty owed to trustees of royalty payments on oil and gas leases in the state. In its brief, NCLC argued that the lower court disregarded instructions from the Supreme Court regarding the appropriate size for a punitive damages award. NCLC noted that the case provides an important opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify whether certain costs, such as attorneys' fees and interest, should be factored into compensatory awards.

Case Documents