May v Nationstar Mortgage: Reckless Indifference resulting in Mental Anguish results in 500k punitive damages award

“We first evaluate whether the reprehensible nature of Nationstar’s conduct warrants punitive damages. Reprehensibility is the most important guidepost. Gore, 517 U.S. at 575. When assessing reprehensibility, the Supreme Court instructs us to consider whether:

the harm caused was physical as opposed to economic; the tortious conduct evinced an indifference to or a reckless disregard of the health or safety of others; the target of the conduct had financial vulnerability; the conduct involved repeated actions or was an isolated incident; and the harm was the result of intentional malice, trickery, or deceit, or mere accident.

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 419 (2003). The presence of just one indicium of reprehensibility is sufficient to render conduct reprehensible and support an award of punitive damages. See Trickey, 705 F.3d at 803.”

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Jeannie K. May, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Defendant-Appellant.
Jeannie K. May, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Defendant-Appellee.

May v Nationstar Mortgage

Nos. 16-1285, 16-1307.United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.Submitted: December 15, 2016.Filed: March 29, 2017.Kevin Michael Abel, for Defendant-Appellant.

Jeffrey Mark Tillotson, for Defendant-Appellant.

Rhiana Luaders, for Defendant-Appellant.

Amy Elizabeth Breihan, for Defendant-Appellant.

Elizabeth Scott Letcher, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Paul M. Catalano, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Robert T. Healey, Jr., for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Robert David Humphreys, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Ben Alexander Barnes, for Defendant-Appellant.

Luke J. Wallace, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Appeals from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri — St. Louis

Before WOLLMAN and SMITH,[1] Circuit Judges, and WRIGHT,[2] District Judge.

WRIGHT, District Judge.

Appellee/Cross-Appellant Jeannie K. May commenced this action to recover damages under state and federal law arising from the debt-collection practices of Appellant/Cross-Appellee Nationstar Mortgage, Inc. A jury found in favor of…

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