Punitive Damages

GMSR has extensive experience in addressing the propriety of punitive damages awards, both in seeking to preserve awards when they are adequately supported and in getting excessive awards reduced or eliminated.

Perez v. Fire Ins. Exchange (Nov. 30, 2005, F043931) 2005 WL 3193848 [nonpublished opinion]

Reduction of $25 million punitive damage award to $711,000 in insurance bad faith judgment in farm tractor accident

396 Investments, Inc. v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 2005 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 4876

Reduction of $25 million punitive damage award to $1 million

Alexander v. Farmers Group, Inc. (June 16, 2004, B142432) 2004 WL 1344885 [nonpublished opinion]

Independent contractor claims for fraudulent inducement of employment barred by statute of limitations and parol evidence rule

Sep 10, 2002 Related Cases
Hanstad v. Truck Ins. Exch. (Sept. 10, 2002, B143750) 2002 WL 31045505 [nonpublished opinion]

$40 million punitive damages award reversed because trial court improperly usurped jury’s role in determining facts regarding managing agent’s ratification of tortious conduct

Surgin Surgical Instrumentation, Inc. v. Truck Ins. Exchange (June 20, 2002, G026258) 2002 WL 1353376 [nonpublished opinion]

Reversal of $59.8 million default judgment based on terminating discovery sanctions in insurance bad faith case

Ricketts v. The Farmers Group, Inc. (2001) 2001 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 1391

Claim for wrongful termination of an insurer’s in-house (“staff”) counsel

Sonnier v. Farmers Insurance Exchange (2001, B141794)

Challenge to independent contractor discharge (settled before decision)

Jun 01, 2001 Related Cases
Guardian Post-Acute Services, Inc. v. Superior Court (2001, H021342)

Criminal information filed against healthcare provider did not suffice, without more, to allow punitive damages to be sought in civil action

Cruz v. HomeBase (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 160

Punitive damages judgment reversed because security supervisor not “managing agent”

Pelz v. Weider Management, Inc. (1999, C025517)

Impact of plaintiff’s refusal to testify under Fifth Amendment in fraud action

Who We Serve


Whether on appeal, assisting trial counsel, or advising government officials contemplating legislative action, GMSR provides unique insight into the complex laws that impact public entities.

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Where coverage may exist, GMSR represents insureds on appeal effectively and efficiently. Where it does not, the firm protects insurers’ right to deny claims.

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GMSR offers corporate clients objective assessments on appeal, based on a deep understanding of the limitations and opportunities of appellate review.

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The firm’s lawyers are team players, collaborating with trial counsel at any level from legal strategy to writing or editing trial court motions and appellate briefs.

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GMSR vigorously advocates the rights of individual plaintiffs and defendants, in both state and federal appellate courts.

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As part of GMSR’s long-standing commitment to social justice and equality, GMSR provides pro bono appellate services to individuals and to community organizations on issues of concern.

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