The Sixth Circuit today ordered a district court to cut a jury’s punitive damages award to achieve a one-to-one ratio to the compensatory damages.  The jury awarded an elderly widow $400,000 in actuals plus $2,628,600 in punitives against a bank for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  The district court, after an initial appeal and remand, ordered reduction of the $2,628,600 to $2,228,600.  The Sixth Circuit held the subtraction of $400,000 not enough to fix the unconstitutional overkill of the punitive element.  And it directed the district court to slash the award to no more than $400,000 — the same as actual damages.  Bach v. First Union Nat’l Bank, No. 06-3660 (6th Cir. May 15, 2007).

Barry Barnett

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