Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co.

In an insurance bad faith case, the trial court properly remitted punitive damages from the $19 million awarded by the jury to $475,000, which was ten times the actual damages awarded.  This decision affirms a trial court’s remittitur of punitive damages in an insurance bad faith case from the $19 million awarded by the jury to ten times the actual damages awarded, which with Brandt fees included as actual damages under Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co. (2016) 63 Cal.4th 363, brought the punitive damage award to $475,000.  Though the defendant caused only economic not physical injury, in every other respect, its conduct was highly reprehensible, relying on a limitation hidden in the policy’s definition section to deny disabled and impecunious insureds the benefits they reasonably expected their insurance to provide for needed medical treatment.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3 (Aldrich, J.); November 3, 2016; 2016 WL 6520112

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