The Fourth Circuit today affirmed a judgment awarding $100,000 in punitive damages despite a compensatory award of only $8,000. The court held that the 12.5:1 ratio didn’t offend due process concerns. Equal Emp. Opp. Comm’n v. Federal Express Corp., No. 06-1724 (4th Cir. Jan. 24, 2008).
A different panel of the court reversed a judgment that classified an insurance policy as "excess" to another one, meaning that the carrier didn’t have to pay until the "primary" insurer paid the limits under its policy. The key fact? That one policy provided only excess coverage, but the other one didn’t. Horace Mann Ins. Co. v. General Star Nat’l Ins. Co., No. 06-215 (4th Cir. Jan. 24, 2008) (applying West Virginia law).