The Ninth Circuit held today that due process allowed a 125,000 to one ratio between punitive and actual damages in a sexual harassment case. Arizona v. ASARCO LLC, No. 11-17484 (9th Cir. Oct. 24, 2013).
The panel cut district court's $300,000 award to $125,000 on the ground that due process would not permit the extra $175,000.
A jury had found ASARCO liable to employee Angela Aguilar under Title VII and awarded her $868,750 in punitive damages but only $1 in actuals. The district court cut the punitives to the statutory maximum of $300,000.
A concurring judge said the $300,000 cap met due process standards and would have affirmed the district court's award in that amount.