THE LOEWEN GROUP V. UNITED STATES: PUNITIVE DAMAGES AND THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2004 Connecticut Journal of International Law
Connecticut Journal of International Law

THE LOEWEN GROUP V. UNITED STATES: PUNITIVE DAMAGES AND THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

Summer, 2004

19 Conn. J. Int'l L. 495

Author

Lucien J. Dhooge *

Excerpt



When the trial is viewed as a whole right through from the voir dire to counsel's closing address, it can be seen that the O'Keefe case was presented by counsel against an appeal to home-town sentiment, favouring the local party against an outsider . . . [T]he O'Keefe case as presented invited the jury to discriminate against Loewen as an outsider. 1



[The Defendants were] rich, dumb Canadian[s] . . . who thought [they] could come down and pull the wool over the eyes of a good ole Mississippi boy. It didn't work. 2



Introduction



On November 2, 1995, a civil jury constituted in the First Circuit Court of Hinds County, Mississippi returned an award of punitive damages in the amount of $ 400 million in favor of Jeremiah O'Keefe, Sr., his son and their related business entities (O'Keefe) and against The Loewen Group, Inc. and its related entities (Loewen) in the case of O'Keefe v. The Loewen Group, Inc. (O'Keefe Litigation). 3 This punitive damages award followed an award of $ 100 million in compensatory damages entered by the jury on November 1, 1995. 4 The compensatory damages award covered losses allegedly sustained by O'Keefe as a result of breaches of three contracts, entered into in 1974, 1979 and 1987, between Gulf National Life Insurance Company, a Mississippi funeral insurance company owned by O'Keefe, and Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home, Inc., a funeral home owned by Loewen. 5 The compensatory award also covered losses allegedly sustained by O'Keefe ...
 
 
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