In the News

Mitchell Morris Discusses Punitive Damages Proceedings in Law360

November 29, 2016

Richmond litigation partner Mitchell Morris, co-leader of the firm’s punitive damages practice, wrote a Nov. 21 Law360 column discussing insights into bifurcation and “Phase II” punitive damages proceedings gleaned from a recent tobacco trial.

Titled “Tobacco Trial Sheds Light on Punitive Damages Process,” Morris’s column analyzes challenges, key considerations, and lessons litigants can learn from the case, and about bifurcation of punitive damages generally.

Morris notes that when facing potential punitive damages proceedings, “defendants should be prepared to proactively seek the admission of mitigating evidence — that is, evidence demonstrating that the defendant is less culpable and undeserving of punishment beyond compensatory damages.” He adds, “Perhaps the most important single lesson from such cases is that, while punitive damages proceedings may be relatively uncommon, they present tremendous financial and reputational risk — often magnitudes higher than compensatory trials — which absolutely demands advance consideration and contingency planning.”