The Fifth Circuit today entered an opinion reversing a punitive damages award in a State Farm case from Katrina, Broussard v. State Farm. The major issues turn on burden of proof and how that relates to Mississippi punitive damages law. I spent the evening writing a long post about why this opinion bothered me, using the quotes above as texts and the fact that years ago my father and I wrote a law journal article about insurance claims and punitive damages in Mississippi. At this point, I’m discouraged and not sure I can adequately sort this one out, so I’m holding back much of what I wrote. I would be less bothered if I was sure what the correct result was.
But I don’t want to leave two favorite quotes about … entropy, I guess … sitting in an unused post and so here they are.
I may post more about this later. In the meantime, for an account of the oral argument, based on an AP story (and describing acerbic shots back and forth between Walker and Judge Jones), check out this David Rossmiller post. There is another perspective, from a Florida lawyer prospecting for Katrina cases (I’m not persuaded by the point of view of the later post, which largely seems to be trying to strike a note of sympathy to the plaintiff’s lawyers in Broussard while trying to suggest the plaintiffs’ lawyers really got in a big hurry and that it would have been so much better to hire the lawyer who wrote the post instead, a lawyer who sets my teeth on edge by over-and-over writing “principal” when he means “principle”).