Tesla framed Diaz’s suffering as “‘garden variety’ emotional distress that was ‘fortunately mild and short-lived,'” Orrick wrote. “The record roundly rejects that watered-down revisionism. It is difficult to see how Tesla reached that interpretation of the evidence other than ignoring it. Tesla’s proffered figure of $300,000 is, accordingly, untethered to record evidence. The jury reasonably found that this was a case of severe emotional distress.”
Orrick decided that compensatory damages “will be remitted to $1.5 million, the highest award supported by the evidence. The punitive damages award must also be remitted under Supreme Court precedent imposing constitutional limitations on punitive damages. But again, I will not reduce it to the one-to-one ratio to compensatory damages that Tesla urges. I conclude that, on these facts, the Constitution permits a punitive-damages award of $13.5 million—nine times the amount of compensatory damages.”
Diaz will have the option of accepting or rejecting the new amounts totaling $15 million. Tesla can then challenge the ruling in a federal appeals court.
I would say that barely covers the damage. With Tesla lawyers arguing some garbage revisionist law, I would have happily doubled that amount.