Hip ImplantA couple of months ago, we reported on a $10 million punitive verdict in the first hip implant case to go to trial against Wright Medical Technology. Last week, Wright Medical filed its opening brief in support of its post-trial motions.  From the looks of the brief, Wright Medical has a number of promising arguments.

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Isolated Keys on White with Clipping PathMcPadden v. WalMart Stores East, L.P., No. 14-cv-475, awarded more than $31 million to a former Wal-Mart employee who had worked for the company as a pharmacist.  The plaintiff sued for discrimination and retaliation after she was terminated as discipline for losing a pharmacy key.  As is common in these cases, the news stories were technically accurate but left a misleading impression of what happened.
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Eye PoppingIn a post a few weeks ago, I reported on a verdict by a federal jury in Atlanta awarding $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages against the manufacturer of a hip implant. Not to be outdone, on December 14 a state-court jury in California awarded $9.8 million in compensatory damages and an eye-popping $70 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon in a case alleging defects in a hemorrhoid stapler used to perform surgery on a hemorrhoid suffer.
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Earlier this week, a federal jury in San Diego imposed a punitive damages award of $185 million against AutoZone in a case alleging pregnancy discrimination and retaliatory discharge.  The punitive damages are a whopping 212 times the $872,000 in compensatory damages that the jury awarded for lost wages and emotional distress.

Set of auto partsNeedless to say, it is exceptionally unlikely that anything close to $185 million will survive post-verdict and appellate review.  I have not yet had the chance to review anything other than media accounts about the case, but based on them a few things about the verdict jump out at me as being relevant to readers of this blog—all of which my colleagues and I have covered in previous posts.


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