Frivilous Lawsuit won by Koch…but he’s Against them

Money lies. Big money lies even larger and here is a great example.  Bill (William) Koch, one of the wealthy Koch brothers, is against frivolous lawsuits, yet just won a lawsuit over 24 bottles of wine, or should I say whine? Punitive damages awarded: $12 Million dollars.

After the 2012 election cycle we all should know of the Koch brothers and at least a little something of their involvement in trying to elect pro business GOP candidates. In this case William gave huge amounts of money to GOP candidates over the years. Restore our Future, a PAC decidedly pro Romney, GOP and other right wing efforts, as well as John Boehner  were recipients of millions. Both groups object to what they call “frivolous lawsuits”. For example Boehner has voted consistently for “Restricting Frivolous Lawsuits”, “Limiting Attorney’s Fees in Class Action Lawsuits”, “Prohibiting Lawsuits about Obesity against Food Providers”, and he pledged to bring to the floor the “Common Sense Legal Reforms Act” which would limit punitive damages and stem liability litigation. Lets see how that position, Bill Koch’s position fits his own lawsuit.

It appears Mr. Koch bought a lot of 24 bottles of wine at a price of $320,000. It also appears one of the bottles in the lot was counterfeit, a detail of which neither Koch nor the seller were aware. When this detail became evident the seller offered to refund the entire purchase price to Koch. Instead of accepting the offer of a complete and full refund Mr. Koch sued. On Friday, the court awarded Mr. Koch his full purchase price and tacked on a punitive award of $12 Million. Yes $12 million in punitive damages for being accidentally misled regarding the authenticity of 24 bottles of wine.

It appears the effort, by in this case some of the biggest money in the country; to limit frivolous lawsuits really just means lawsuits which may penalize their own corporate interests. Of course it wouldn’t apply to them. American Money Lies, Big money makes the lies a bit larger and the influence broader.

3 thoughts on “Frivilous Lawsuit won by Koch…but he’s Against them

  1. Eric

    Seems absurd. The question I have is, is there any advantage to winning an award thru the judicial system. In other words, could the frivilous suit in this case be a ploy to move money around “legally”, that would otherwise seem questionable? A form of money laundering in a sense. Just a thought. Appreciate any feedback.

    1. Steve Post author

      Eric…it would seem to me the difference is in the cash. If Koch took the refund offered by the seller he would simply have gotten his $320,000 back. With the suit, he got his $320,000k plus $12 million in punitive damages…a tidy profit. Interesting to me is that to get punitive damages you must ask for them…the court deems it “punishment” for the wrongful and deliberate actions of the defense…and this “punishment” or punitive damage awards is exactly what the right is trying to place limits upon so major corporations aren’t hit up cutting into profits. And as I understand it the amount of punitive damage awards are based on the defense’s ability to pay so if $10M is petty cash for the offender the amount will be much more. In the end the only real move of money is from the pocketbook of the seller to the pocketbook of Bill Koch.


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