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Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co.

[2002] S.C.R. 595, 209 D.L.R. (4th) 257, 156 O.A.C. 201, 20 B.L.R. (3d) 165, 35 C.C.L.I. (3d).

This is the leading case in Canada on punitive damages awards against insurers for "bad faith". After a jury made a record breaking award of $1 million in punitive damages against an insurer that raised an arson defence to a house fire claim, Lerners was retained and managed to persuade a majority of the Court of Appeal to reduce the award to $100,000. By a 7-1 majority, the Supreme Court of Canada restored the verdict, but set out guidelines that should keep such awards from becoming irrationally high.

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