Alabama. Gore. BMW. What do they have in common? In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court reached a landmark decision in the case of Gore v. BMW in Alabama.
In its ruling, the court found that there are certain constitutional limits to the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in any legal matter. The court did not set a bright line regarding those limits, but it hinted strongly that a ceiling of 10 times ordinary damages awarded would be a tough one to breach, constitutionally. Punitive damages are meant to “punish” and to deter certain bad behavior.