The Second Circuit affirmed a judgment for billionaire William Koch in his suit against a wine counterfeiter on Wednesday, upholding compensatory and punitive damages over the fake Bordeaux wine Koch bought “as-is” at auction for more than $14,000 a bottle.
The three-judge appellate panel rejected Eric Greenberg’s bid for judgment as a matter of law, saying the jury had seen enough evidence to find him liable for fraud and deceptive business practices in connection with the sale. The Second Circuit was also unswayed by Greenberg’s contention that the alleged fraud wasn’t directed at the public and he therefore shouldn’t have been liable for punitive damages.
“Given the evidence that the defendant intended to sell counterfeit wine, at auctions aimed at the public, no manifest injustice exists in the imposition of a punitive damages award,” the panel ruled.
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