In Soto v. BorgWarner Morse TEC Inc., No. B252995 (Cal. Ct. App. July 15, 2015), the California Court of Appeal addressed an appeal from a plaintiff’s verdict in an asbestos matter.  After finding liability at trial in this asbestos exposure action, the jury assessed a $32.5 million punitive damages award against the defendant.  The Court of Appeal noted that punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for the conduct that caused the plaintiff harm and to deter future wrongful acts.  The court noted that to accomplish these goals, punitive damages should be set in “an amount not so low that defendants can absorb it with little or no discomfort, nor so high that it destroys, annihilates, or cripples the defendant.”  Given this standard, the plaintiff bears the burden of providing “meaningful evidence of the defendant’s financial condition.”  Here, the plaintiff adduced testimony concerning the defendant’s revenues but provided no evidence of the defendant’s liabilities or expenses.  Noting that “revenue alone provides little information about a defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages,” the court concluded that plaintiff adduced insufficient evidence of defendant’s financial condition to enable the jury to assess intelligently the defendant’s ability to pay a punitive award.  The Court reversed that award and stated that no retrial would be had.