Landmark Case:

Johnson v. Ford Motor Co.

June 16, 2005: $10,000,000 in punitive damages was awarded in the Supreme Court of California to Plaintiff's for a repeated corporate practice of fraud. Plaintiffs were the purchasers of a used automobile who sued Ford Motor Company for concealing the automobile's history of transmission repairs and replacements when reselling the car. Plaintiffs presented evidence of corporate practices by Ford identical or closely similar to the fraud inflicted on them, practices they maintain earned Ford millions of dollars in profit. The Court of Appeal, held that Ford could constitutionally, only be punished in this case for its fraud on plaintiffs and not for its overall course of conduct, reducing the punitive damages award to $53,435, just three times the compensatory damages. The Supreme Court of California overturned the appellate courts decision.