Labor/Employment » Punitive Damages Slashed In AZ Harassment Case To Maintain “Reasonable Relationship”

Punitive Damages Slashed In AZ Harassment Case To Maintain “Reasonable Relationship”

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June 30, 2014

A female employee at an Arizona copper mine who was subjected to sexual harassment by supervisors (Arizona v. ASARCO) received an excessive award at trial, based on case law and the circumstances, argues Evan Tager, a partner with Mayer Brown. The Ninth Circuit reached the same conclusion. Although the jury awarded her no compensatory damages, and only one dollar in nominal damages, they gave the plaintiff $868,750 in punitive damages. The district court reduced the punitive damages to $300,000, the statutory maximum. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that $125,000 was the highest award that would maintain a “reasonable relationship” between compensatory and punitive damages.

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