After the investment firm was found to have deleted some emails regarding the disputed merger, an incensed trial judge directed the jury to assume that the emails would have backed up Perelman’s charges of fraud; a $1.5 billion verdict followed, including $850 million in punitive damages (May 18 and Dec. 17, 2005). Now a Florida appeals court, by a 2-1 vote, has thrown out the award on the grounds that “no legally cognizable damage was shown as a result of the alleged fraud.” It did not reach the discovery-sanctions issue. (Joe Bel Bruno, AP/ABCNews.com, Mar. 21; Jordana Mishory, “Fla. Appeals Court Tosses $1.58 Billion Verdict Against Morgan Stanley”, Miami Daily Business Review, Mar. 22; Carolyn Elefant, LegalBlogWatch, Mar. 21; opinion text, PDF).