John Meagher Discusses Florida Supreme Court Decision Impacting Punitive Damages with Daily Business Review

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Daily Business Review

Miami Managing partner John Meagher was recently quoted in an article entitled “Florida Supreme Court Ruling Guts the Impact of Punitive Damages,” published by the Daily Business Review.

The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that a trial judge in a wrongful-death action must use judicial discretion on whether a punitive damages award a jury returned is reasonable compared to the compensatory damage award and the injury the beneficiaries suffered.

The justices ruled that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was correct in challenging the jury verdict with a punitive damages to compensatory damages award exceeding the ratio of 3:1. The ruling was based on a question certified by the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which had reversed a punitive damage award a jury returned to petitioner Brinda Coates against respondent R.J. Reynolds.

Meagher claims that the plaintiffs bar will not be happy with the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling.

“This ruling will not please the members of the plaintiffs bar but will provide comfort to those concerned about what they perceive to be ‘runaway’ jury verdicts,” said Meagher.

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About John E. Meagher

John E. Meagher is the Managing Partner of the Miami office of Shutts & Bowen LLP and Chair of the Insurance Practice Group. A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated trial lawyer, John has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America® in insurance law and has been named a “Top Lawyer” by South Florida Legal Guide. John primarily represents insurance companies, defending them in trial and appellate actions throughout the state and federal court systems. John also litigates commercial, real estate, and banking cases.

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Shutts & Bowen, established in 1910, is a full-service business law firm with approximately 270 lawyers located in eight offices across Florida.

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