Attorney General to Defend Cap on Court Awards

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Montana’s attorney general intends to defend the state’s limit on the punitive damages that can be awarded to an individual by a judge or jury.

The attorney general’s office filed notice with the Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday that Tim Fox will intervene in a constitutional challenge of the $10 million punitive-damage cap.

District Judge Kurt Krueger of Butte previously ruled the cap is not a large enough deterrent for a big company. The ruling came in a case in which a jury awarded a $52 million judgment against Comerica Inc. for reneging on a 2008 agreement with a Butte-based office supply company.

The company, Masters Group International Inc., is asking the Supreme Court to uphold Krueger’s ruling that the state law setting the cap is unconstitutional.