The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected (see NY Times article) a $79.5 million punitive damage award against Philip Morris in a lawsuit brought by the widow of long-time smoker Jesse Williams. The 5-4 decision found there to be a taking of property without due process when punitive damages are calculated by determining the measure of harm to a single plaintiff and then multiplying that amount by the number of third parties similarly harmed. The Court declined the opportunity, sought by Philip Morris and other industry groups, to establish a cap to punitive damages. Justice Breyer wrote the opinion for the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Kennedy, and Souter. Justices Stevens and Thomas filed solo dissenting opinions and Justice Ginsburg filed a dissent that was joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas. The case is Philip Morris USA v Williams.