A Missouri appeals court Tuesday upheld an $8 million punitive damages judgment imposed in Jackson County against State Farm Insurance.
The case involved a lawsuit filed by Johnson County residents Jennie Hampton and Marvin Vail, who accused State Farm of malicious prosecution and breach of contract.
The case began a decade ago when Hampton reported the theft of her Toyota 4Runner, which was found abandoned and burned in Miami County, Kan. State Farm declined to pay her $10,000 claim and, working through an industry investigative service, referred the case to Johnson County prosecutors, who charged Hampton and Vail with insurance fraud.
After a jury acquitted them in 2001, they filed the civil action against State Farm.
In September 2005, a Jackson County jury awarded them each $400,000. Later that year, a judge adjusted those amounts to $250,000 because of a statutory cap, and he also assessed the punitive awards.
State Farm appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri upheld the judge’s actions.
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