BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559, 3 (1996)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Cite as: 517 U. S. 559 (1996)


$2 million is substantially greater than Alabama's applicable $2,000 fine and the penalties imposed in other States for similar malfeasance, and because none of the pertinent statutes or interpretive decisions would have put an out-of-state distributor on notice that it might be subject to a multimillion dollar sanction. Moreover, in the absence of a BMW history of noncompliance with known statutory requirements, there is no basis for assuming that a more modest sanction would not have been sufficient. Pp. 583-585.

(f) Thus, BMW's conduct was not sufficiently egregious to justify the severe punitive sanction imposed against it. Whether the appropriate remedy requires a new trial or merely an independent determination by the Alabama Supreme Court of the award necessary to vindicate Alabama consumers' economic interests is a matter for that court to address in the first instance. Pp. 585-586. 646 So. 2d 619, reversed and remanded.

Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Breyer, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which O'Connor and Souter, JJ., joined, post, p. 586. Scalia, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Thomas, J., joined, post, p. 598. Ginsburg, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., joined, post, p. 607.

Andrew L. Frey argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Kenneth S. Geller, Evan M. Tager, Michael C. Quillen, Dennis J. Helfman, and David Cordero.

Michael H. Gottesman argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Jonathan S. Massey, Andrew W. Bolt II, John W. Haley, Bruce J. McKee, Kenneth J. Chesebro, and Stephen K. Wollstein.*

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the American Automobile Manufacturers Association et al. by Kenneth W. Starr, Paul T. Cappuccio, Christopher Landau, Richard A. Cordray, and Phillip D. Brady; for the American Council of Life Insurance et al. by Patricia A. Dunn, Stephen J. Goodman, Phillip E. Stano, and Theresa L. Sorota; for the American Tort Reform Association et al. by Victor E. Schwartz, Scott L. Winkelman, Sherman Joyce, and Fred J. Hiestand; for the Business Council of Alabama by Forrest S. Latta; for the Center for Claims Resolution by John D. Aldock and Frederick C. Schafrick; for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America by Timothy B. Dyk, Stephen A. Bokat, and Robin S. Conrad; for the Farmers Insurance Exchange


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007