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July 21, 2014

In The News Today – July 21, 2014

The unprecedented $23.6 billion punitive damages verdict handed down against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company last week is “likely to be rejected on appeal or the award reduced substantially,” according to legal experts. The award “likely falls outside the boundaries for punitive damages that the U.S. Supreme Court has laid down” — the general guideline of which “is that the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages should be below 10:1.” (Reuters)

Louisiana legislators added $15 million today to the attorney general’s budget to pay for Louisiana’s ongoing legal case against BP for damages caused by the 2010 Gulf oil spill. To cover costs of the legal work, the Legislature’s joint budget committee “tapped into money from a set-aside fund that includes fees, taxes and penalties paid by the oil industry.” The attorney general said the money “will pay for outside attorneys and experts working on the litigation. (New Orleans City Business)

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman outlined the plaintiffs’ counsel structure in the multidistrict litigation over the General Motors faulty ignition switches. According to the judge’s order, the plaintiffs’ counsel structure would include a panel of three co-lead counsel, an executive committee with ten counsel, a plaintiff liaison counsel, and federal and state liaison counsel. Plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking to be considered for those roles must turn in an application by July 28, and applications will be considered at an August 11 conference. (Law360)

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