Supreme Court grants certiorari in Philip Morris v. Williams (again)

On March 1 we reported,

Oregon Supreme Court plays chicken with SCOTUS over $79.5 million punitive damages award in Williams v. Philip Morris case. [Sebok @ Findlaw; Krauss @ IBD; POL Feb. 1]

SCOTUS didn’t blink, and is reviewing the punitive damages award for a third time. As I’ve previously noted, the U.S. Supreme Court largely dodged questions about the constitutionality of punitive damages in the last iteration of Philip Morris v. Williams. The Oregon Supreme Court decision and certiorari petition puts the punted issue squarely back on the Court’s doorstep, though it will be possible for the Court to decide on narrower procedural grounds given the disingenuous argument for waiver. SCOTUSblog has the cert briefs in Docket No. 07-1216.

For more on this case, see the related posts below.

Update: SCOTUSblog is now reporting that the cert grant was limited to the first question presented: “Whether, after this Court has adjudicated the merits of a party’s federal claim and remanded the case to state court with instructions to ‘apply’ the correct constitutional standard, the state court may interpose~for the first time in the litigation–a state-law procedural bar that is neither firmly established
nor regularly followed.”  There will thus be no reconsideration of the Gore or State Farm v. Campbell rules.

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