"Several reasons warrant the Court to impose punitive damages on Harrison: (1) to punish and deter the use of positions of authority, respect, and trust to lure minors into criminal activities; (2) to punish and deter physical attacks on and attempted murder of minors by defendants in positions of trust and responsibility; and (3) to punish Harrison and deter others from engaging in the type of conduct Harrison committed. These reasons and the totality of the circumstances justify an award of punitive damages of $2.5 million," wrote U.S. District Judge Leo T. Sorokin of the District of Massachusetts.
"Unfortunately, although no doubt well-intentioned, the majority violates the judicial norms listed above," Judge Wesley G. Russell Jr. wrote in the dissent. "As explained below, I believe the majority's departures from these norms lead the majority to an incorrect conclusion: that a defendant may invoke the protections of the overdose statute without actually experiencing an overdose."
Herman Braude, a former George Washington Law School professor and a construction law attorney, told Law.com that the appellate court's ruling is an "important decision for the horse-racing community," because it requires a trainer to act honestly, in good faith for the owner and not represent an undisclosed, third party.
"The defendants' attorneys undoubtedly performed a significant service for their clients by securing a dismissal of the plaintiff's claims with prejudice—arguably the best possible outcome in the case. Such a result is also exceedingly rare, as dismissal is the most severe sanction imposed by the court and is typically reserved for only the most egregious conduct," U.S. District Judge James P. Jones of the Western District of Virginia wrote.
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