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Today's Legal Headlines

Punitive Damages in Billionaire’s Fake Wine Lawsuit Slashed by Judge

– March 31, 2014

An award for $12 million in punitive damages was drastically reduced by a federal judge this week in a lawsuit involving 24 bottles of fake Bordeaux wine sold to billionaire William Koch.

U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken reduced the award of punitive damages owed by oenophile Eric Greenberg from $12 million to $711,622 – just over three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded in the case.

In slashing the award, Oetken said that the punitive damages awarded by the jury in April 2013 were exorbitant and that although Greenberg’s actions were fraudulent, the injuries suffered by Koch were merely economic in nature.

Greenberg maintained throughout the trial that he believed the wines he sold Koch were authentic.

If Koch refuses to accept the reduced award, a new trial on the issue of damages will be held.

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