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US Supreme Court Docket

Supreme Court Docket

[Download January 12, 2008 Argument Calendar PDF]

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Philip Morris USA v. Williams
No. 07-1216


    Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Mayola Williams


    Punitive Damages, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure


    When this case was last before it, this Court reversed the decision of the Oregon
    Supreme Court and held that due process precludes a jury from imposing punitive
    damages to punish for alleged injuries to persons other than the plaintiff. Philip
    Morris USA v. Williams, 127 S. Ct. 1057, 1065 (2007). This Court then remanded
    the case to the Oregon Supreme Court with directions to “apply the [constitutional]
    standard we have set forth.” Ibid. On remand, however, the Oregon Supreme Court
    refused to follow this Court’s directive. Instead, the Oregon court “adhered to” the
    judgment that this Court had vacated because it found that Philip Morris had
    procedurally defaulted under state law and thereby forfeited its claim of federal
    constitutional error. App., infra, 22a.

    The questions presented—the second of which was accepted for review but not
    reached when this case was last before the Court—are:

    1. Whether, after this Court has adjudicated the merits of a party’s federal claim
    and remanded the case to state court with instructions to “apply” the correct
    constitutional standard, the state court may interpose—for the first time in the
    litigation—a state-law procedural bar that is neither firmly established nor regularly

    2. Whether a punitive damages award that is 97 times the compensatory
    damages may be upheld on the ground that the reprehensibility of a defendant’s
    conduct can “override” the constitutional requirement that punitive damages be
    reasonably related to the plaintiffs harm.



  • Docket Sheet From the U.S. Supreme Court.


    Coming Soon
Counsel of Record

For Petitioner:

Andrew L. Frey
Mayer Brown LLP
New York, NY

For Respondent:

Robert S. Peck
Center for Constitutional Litigation, P.C.
Washington, DC


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