Bahamas Surgery Center LLC v. Kimberly-Clark Corp.


(9th Circ., filed August 29, 2018): Arguing punitive damages exceeding a 1:1 ratio are inconsistent with due process where there is a multi-million dollar compensatory damage award for a purely economic injury.  Supreme Court jurisprudence reserves punitive damage awards exceeding compensatory damages for cases involving low compensatory awards, physical harm, or exceptional circumstances.  Also arguing that due process requires a class action avoid using individualized evidence of class representatives as a shortcut for showing common classwide evidence.

Court ruled in favor of ATRA's position

On July 23, 2020, the Court found that the plaintiff, Bahamas Surgery Center, lacked standing because it had not purchased the gowns from defendant Halyard Health. As Bahamas Surgery Center lacked standing to sue in its own right, it could not bring claims on behalf of a class. With respect to Kimberly-Clark, the Ninth Circuit found that the trial court should have decertified the fraudulent concealment class because the materiality of the industry rating varied among class members. It remanded the case with an order to vacate and dismiss.

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