Punitive Damages

At McGuireWoods, we believe the best defense to punitive damages occurs before and at trial, not after it. Our lawyers have extensive experience defending—and, more importantly, defeating—punitive damages both as lead trial counsel, as well as national coordinating counsel working in partnership with trial counsel. This experience includes over a decade as national punitive damages counsel to a Fortune 250 transportation company. In that role, we monitor and manage a diverse docket of punitive damages cases spanning the tort spectrum, from vehicular and pedestrian accidents to employment related suits to environmental litigation to claims for fraud and other intentional torts. We also work proactively to develop positive company narratives concerning activities frequently subject to litigation. In addition, we draw on our decades of Environmental, Products and Mass Tort Litigation, Trials, Commercial Litigation and Labor and Employment experience representing clients in high-stakes matters where claims for punitive damages are commonplace.

Lawsuits seeking punitive damages differ in critical ways from suits seeking compensatory damages only. Punitive damages claims frequently attack “the company’s conduct” at the most fundamental levels, and usually involve allegations of wrongdoing that go beyond the particular incident or incidents giving rise to suit.

All too often these distinctions are overlooked, and the evidence needed to rebut the broader allegations of corporate wrongdoing is not developed. Corporate depositions, inconvenient as they are, may go forward without adequate preparation, and without attention being given to the company’s own narrative. Opportunities for partial dismissal of punitive damages are often overlooked. Counsel may submit witness and exhibit lists without accounting for what is needed to establish the good company story and without preparing “face of the company” witnesses. Jury instructions can omit proper limits on evidence and other due process protections. At trial, critical objections to evidence may be missed and arguments as to the impropriety of punitive damages not raised. When the unthinkable happens—not only is the company found liable, the jury “checks the box” for punitive damages—it may be too late to fix, even with the assistance of skilled appellate counsel.

The risk posed by punitive damages is often higher than the underlying compensatory damages, and demands specialized attention by lawyers with experience defending and defeating such claims. Whether you need someone to take lead on a critical punitive damages case from the outset, parachute in on the eve of trial to try it, or partner with existing trial counsel to assist with discovery, pretrial, or trial practice, we have the knowledge, skills, and experience to get the job done. McGuireWoods is the right choice when punitive damages are at stake.

CONTACTS

Mitchell K. Morris Partner T: +1 804 775 4370
Samuel L. Tarry Jr. Partner T: +1 804 775 7873
Richard C Beaulieu Richard C. Beaulieu
Partner
Promenade
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30309-3534

T: +1 404 443 5650
F: +1 404 443 5678
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Candace Ali Blydenburgh Candace Ali Blydenburgh
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4772
F: +1 804 698 2034
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Diane Flannery Diane Flannery
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 1015
F: +1 804 698 2047
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Travis Gunn Travis C. Gunn
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 7622
F: +1 804 698 2039
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Mitchell K Morris Mitchell K. Morris
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4370
F: +1 804 698 2129
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Jontille D Ray Jontille D. Ray
Senior Counsel
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 1173
F: +1 804 698 2232
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Lauren Scott Lauren P. Scott
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 4396
F: +1 804 698 2044
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Samuel L Tarry Jr. Samuel L. Tarry Jr.
Partner
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

2001 K Street N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-1040

T: +1 804 775 7873
F: +1 804 698 2188
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T:+1 202 857 2417
F: +1 202 857 1737

Davis Walsh Davis M. Walsh
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 7791
F: +1 804 698 4673
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Ashley Winsky Ashley W. Winsky
Associate
Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

T: +1 804 775 1207
F: +1 804 698 2207
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Speaking Engagement

2017 ATA Forum for Motor Carrier General Counsel

July 16-19, 2017
Beaver Creek, CO
Results 1-1 of 1