The Missouri courts seem to provide more than their share of material worthy of comment. In Ross-Paige v. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, decided on June 30, a jury had found for the plaintiff, a St. Louis police officer, on her claim of retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act. After the jury awarded $300,000 in compensatory damages and found the defendant liable for punitive damages, a second phase was held to set the amount of punitive damages.
The jury set punitive damages at a staggering and manifestly excessive $7.2 million, which was reduced under Missouri’s statutory cap of five times compensatory damages to about $2.5 million after attorneys’ fees were added to the compensatory damages. (As noted in a prior post, the Missouri Supreme Court has declared the cap statute unconstitutional as applied to common-law actions, but has upheld it as applied to statutory causes of action such as that in the instant case.)