Jones Day Wins Again with Kirkland Punitives Award

Posted by msch on Feb 11, 2011 5:40:00 PM

Judge William LevensThe jury in Kirkland v. R.J. Reynolds took the advice of Jones Day's Stephen Kaczyinski and awarded just $250K in punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds, the smallest punitive damages award yet in an Engle case in which punitive damages were found to be warranted.

The $250K Kirkland punitive damage award beats the the prior record for least-punitive-damages-in-an-Engle-case, which was set last summer in Piendle v. R.J. Reynolds. In Piendle, Jones Day's Peter Biersteker talked a jury down from a $4M compensatory damage award to just $270K in punitive damages, split between R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris.

A modest punitive damage award isn't the only thing that the Piendle and Kirkland cases share in common. In both trials, R.J. Reynolds CFO Tom Adams testified during the punitive damages phase as to R.J. Reynolds' financial condition. CVN has not seen Mr. Adams testify in any other trials. Could just be a coincidence.

CVN webcast the Kirkland Tobacco trial live.