This is the property of the Daily Journal Corporation and fully protected by copyright. It is made available only to Daily Journal subscribers for personal or collaborative purposes and may not be distributed, reproduced, modified, stored or transferred without written permission. Please click "Reprint" to order presentation-ready copies to distribute to clients or use in commercial marketing materials or for permission to post on a website. and copyright (showing year of publication) at the bottom.

Weekly Appellate Report #28

By Brian Cardile | Nov. 18, 2016


Appellate Practice

Nov. 18, 2016

Weekly Appellate Report #28

Mitchell Keiter (Keiter Appellate Law) on why Prop 57's passage threatens public safety and 'fundamental notions of democracy and justice;' Royal Oakes (Hinshaw & Culbertson) describes how Nickerson v. Stonebridge foretells higher punitives in insurance bad faith actions


audio

This week's show regards an electoral result of statewide consequence in the area of criminal law, and an appellate ruling that stands to raise the allowable limit of punitive damages in insurance bad faith claims.
First, Mitchell Keiter, of Keiter Appellate Law, will tell us why last week's passage of Proposition 57, a ballot initiative that garnered nearly two-thirds of the electorate's support, stands to threaten public safety, the proper administration of criminal justice, and, in his words, even fundamental notions of democracy. The measure makes eligible for parole a class of California inmates convicted on non-violent crimes and who have completed their base sentences. Mr. Keiter contends that many crimes categorized as non-violent are anything but, and thus that the measure could release a decidedly dangerous set of inmates. Mr. Keiter also worries that a separate provision under the initiative, one that introduces more opportunities for inmates to earn rehabilitative, good-behavior credits, could allow the state's most violent offenders, including those convicted of homicide, to unduly lessen their sentences.
Then, Royal Oakes, of Hinshaw and Culbertson, discusses the case of Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co., which raises the allowable limit of punitive damages in insurance bad faith claims, by deciding that attorney fees in such matters, called Brandt fees, should be included in awarded compensatory damages. Since punitive damages are regarded as constitutional by state and federal courts up to, roughly, ten times a compensatory award, the inclusion of Brandt fees in the denominator of the punitive/compensatory ratio will give juries slight more latitude when it comes to punitive awards. Here, the inclusion of the Brandt fees raised a $350,000 award to over $470,000. Interestingly, the original jury in the case awarded the plaintiff $19 million before the trial judge reduced that award to $350,000, ten times the $35,000 compensatory amount.
Don't forget CLE credit is available for listeners; find a pertinent true/false test below for one hour of credit!
Have any idea for a segment? Want to be a guest of the program? Contact the show's host and producer at brian_cardile@dailyjournal.com <!-- Weekly Appellate Report Podcast -->

#284843

Brian Cardile

Daily Journal Staff Writer
brian_cardile@dailyjournal.com

For reprint rights:

Email jeremy@reprintpros.com for prices.
Direct dial: 949-702-5390

If you would like to purchase a copy of your Daily Journal photo, call (213) 229-5558.

Send a letter to the editor:

Email: letters@dailyjournal.com