SAN DIEGO — A judge has reduced punitive damages awarded to the family of a man poisoned by his wife, cutting $90 million from the amount returned by a jury in March.
A Superior Court jury found Kristin Rossum guilty in a civil trial, four years after she was convicted in a criminal case of killing Gregory de Villers in one of San Diego's most notorious murder cases.
The jury ordered Rossum to pay $4.5 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.
But last week, Judge John S. Meyer reduced the punitive award to $10 million, saying the jury's award violated due process because the ratio between the compensatory and punitive damages was too large.
The De Villers family agreed to the reduction in order to avoid a new trial. "Essentially, in our view, the difference in amount wasn't worth seating a jury and trying that very general issue all over again," said John Gomez, the family's attorney.