Jury Awards Bill Koch $12 Million in Punitive Damages
A follow-up to my previous post: the federal jury that ruled in favor of Bill Koch yesterday in his lawsuit against Eric Greenberg today awarded Koch a whopping $12 million in punitive damages, to go along with $379, 000 in compensatory damages. That works out to $500,000 for each of the 24 counterfeit bottles that Greenberg sold to Koch. In my earlier post, I made a smart-ass comment about Greenberg no longer being able to afford wine and having to switch to beer–it turns out I might have been right! The jury deliberated just two hours before reaching its verdict yesterday, and it has now awarded Koch $12 million–I think we can safely conclude that the eight jurors really, really did not like Greenberg, who says he will appeal the decision. The arrest last year of Rudy Kurniawan showed that the government took the wine fraud issue seriously, and Koch’s resounding victory against Greenberg has proven that a jury can be persuaded to take it seriously, too, and that those caught selling counterfeit wines can face very harsh consequences. I’d imagine the Greenberg verdict has sent a chill through certain corners of the fine wine market.