We reported over the summer that the $45.2 million punitive damages award against Alex Jones would be capped at $750,000 under Texas law. Perhaps we spoke too soon.
According to The New York Times, the judge in that case decided not to apply the cap because the she questioned its constitutionality and viewed the claim as “a rare case” in which the emotional damage inflicted on the plaintiffs was so severe that “I believe they have no recourse.” That description of the court’s ruling doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because it mixes up the concepts of compensatory damages (designed to provide recourse for injuries) and punitive damages (designed to punish and deter bad conduct).
In a more typical case, such a ruling would likely lead to an appeal. But that may never happen here, because NPR reports that Alex Jones has filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing was prompted not only by the Texas case, but also by a Connecticut case in which a jury awarded $965 million in compensatory damages and a judge later added $473 million in punitive damages.