Entering a $2.4 million verdict for the plaintiff, a Mobile, Alabama, Circuit Court jury found in favor of a Farmers insurance agent against Farmers last week. The plaintiff agent was Kyle Morris, the son of the owner of the Morris Insurance Agency. Kyle signed an employment agreement with Farmers based on Farmers' representations that later turned out to be fraudulent. When he was unceremoniously fired by Farmers in 2009, Kyle discovered the misrepresentation. At trial, Farmers argued that it did not matter that they had lied to Kyle because Kyle had signed the employment contract that allowed Farmers to fire him if they gave him notice.
The jury's verdict consisted of $600,000 in compensatory (economic) damages, and $1.8 million in punitive (punishment) damages. This case is a good example of the legal system enabling a single individual to stand up to a powerful corporation that has acted unethically and outside of the law. Unfortunately, with the passage of laws that limit corporate liability, this is less and less likely to occur, much to the detriment of consumers and society as a whole.