In Davids v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., No. 06-CV-431 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 9, 2013), the district court addressed the propriety of a jury’s award of $10 million in punitive damages in connection with a compensatory damages of $450,000 for an inadequate failure to warn of the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by defendant’s drug. The district court held that the record contained sufficient evidence that defendant had notice that osteonecrosis was a possible result of the use of its product so that a reasonable jury could conclude that its failure to warn was reprehensible. An award of punitive damages was therefore appropriate. Nevertheless the court held that, given the substantial size of the compensatory award, even the 5:1 ratio permitted by the applicable New Jersey Punitive Damages Act led to a punitive award that exceeded due process bounds. The court concluded that a 2:1 ratio was appropriate and ordered plaintiff to accept a remittitur to a $900,000 or retry the issue of punitive damages.
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Court upholds, but reduces, punitive damages award
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