The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a 48 million verdict for farmers who say they lost money because a company’s genetically altered rice seeds contaminated the food supply and drove down crop prices.
Bayer argued that Arkansas tort laws set a limit on punitive damages and that courts should set aside jury awards that “shock the conscience.” However, in its opinion the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed with the Lonoke Circuit Court that the cap on punitive damages was unconstitutional. Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson wrote that the cap “limits the amount of recovery outside the employment relationship,” while the Arkansas constitution only allows limits on compensation paid by employers to employees. The court said the law conflicts with Amendment 26, which gives the Legislature the power to enact measures to prescribe the amount of compensation to be paid employees for injury or death.
This ruling is a great victory for ordinary hard working Arkansas residents. The Arkansas Court found that an Arkansas jury should not be constricted by big business and their hand picked legislators in deciding fair and reasonable verdicts and damages. If you have been harmed by negligence of another party, please contact contact an Arkansas Personal Injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights.