New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Punitive Damages, tort reform


October 22nd, 2009

Target Lawsuit Over Counterfeiting Claim Settles After $3.1M Verdict

Last year I wrote about Rita Cantrell, who was falsely accused by Target of using a counterfeit $100 bill. The bill was authentic, but lacking some of the modern anti-counterfeiting devices simply because it was an older series.

The resulting suit led to a $100,00 compensatory damage verdict with $3,000,000 in punitive damages for the defamation. Some tort “reformers” smelled an opportunity and a small kerfuffle was set off in the legal blogosphere (see: Target Hit for $3M in Defamation Punitives (And Tort “Reformer” Sees Opportunity).

The suit, Cantrell v. Target, has now settled. While this is good for the parties involved, it’s not so good for the opinionators who were wondering what the Court of Appeals would do with the verdict and the 1:30 compensatory:punitive damage ratio. A Magistrate Judge had previously refused to toss out or modify the damage award, leading to the appeal. (And the Supreme Court had let stand a 1:100 ratio earlier this year.)

According to this paper, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal “upon such terms as have been agreed to by the parties.” The parties didn’t disclose the terms.

(h/t Stegmaier)

The case was discussed previously here:

Links to this post:

October 23 roundup
Is it against the law to report police movements on Twitter? [Valetk,; Volokh]; “Attorney Charged With Posting Ad Seeking ‘Secretary With Benefits’” [Legal Profession Blog via Bruce Carton, Legal Blog Watch]; Maker of Monster
posted by Walter Olson @ October 23, 2009 8:43 AM

One thought on “Target Lawsuit Over Counterfeiting Claim Settles After $3.1M Verdict

  1. As I recall, there was a guy in an upper west side Blarney Stone who looked remarkably like Ted Frank, slurring that if that Cantrell woman gets a dime, he’ll pay it himself.

    I wonder whether Target might be interested in this…