A federal appeals court has upheld an eight-million dollar punitive damage judgment given to a Johnson County couple that had sued State Farm Insurance. The man and woman accused State Farm of malicious prosecution and breach of contract.
Ten years ago, Jennie Hampton reported that her car had been stolen. It was found, burned out, in Oklahoma. State Farm refused to pay her claim, referred the case to the county prosecutor, and the prosecutor charged Hampton and friend Marvin Vail with insurance fraud. A jury acquitted both of them.
State Farm still didn’t pay. The couple sued, won, got a quarter million dollars in actual damages and eight-million in punitive damages. State Farm appealed. The federal appeals court sides with Hampton and Vail. Another State Farm appeal is being considered.