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Punitive damages of $250 Million awarded to current and former employees in gender discrimination lawsuit.

In a case in which over $3 Million in compensatory damages already had been awarded to a group of 12 female former employees claiming gender discrimination, the same jury awarded $250 Million in punitive damages to a class of 5600 female employees and former employees of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation for the same claims. Velez v. Novartis Pharma. Corp., S.D.N.Y., No. 04-civ.9194, punitive damages verdict 5/19/10. The case, filed as a class action in 2005 in the Southern District of New York, was a “sex plus” case, meaning that the gender discrimination was brought in tandem with related claims, such as pregnancy discrimination or family leave interference. The plaintiffs in the case against Novartis made claims based upon unequal pay, lack of promotion, and adverse treatment after pregnancy leave.

Third Circuit Applies 1:1 Ratio for Punitive Damages Where Compensatory Damages Were Substantial and Defendants’ Conduct Not Especially Reprehensible.

In this insurance bad faith case, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals revisited the oft-litigated question of the proper ratio between compensatory and punitive damages, reducing the punitive award from a 3.13:1 ratio to a 1:1 ratio.
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