WestGate Resorts, Ltd. v. AdelAnnotate this Case
Shawn Adel, a former employee of Westgate Resorts, a timeshare company, formed Consumer Protection Group (CPG) to right perceived wrongs stemming from Westgate's offer of certificates to consumers that were virtually irredemable. CPG solicited people who had received certificates to assign their claims to CPG. Westgate sued Adel, claiming intentional interference with existing and potential economic relations, conversion, breach of contract, and violation of the Utah Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Adel and CPG counterclaimed on behalf of 500 claimants, alleging breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, and violation of the Utah Consumer Protection Act. The jury awarded actual economic damages of between $5 and $550 for each claimant and awarded each claimant punitive damages of $66,666. The Supreme Court vacated the jury's punitive damages award, holding that the award violated Westgate's procedural due process rights under Philip Morris USA v. Williams because the statements made by CPG's counsel during closing argument created a risk that the jury would improperly consider harm allegedly caused by Westgate to nonparties when it fixed its punitive damages award. Remanded for a new evaluation of the punitive damages award only.