Because of inflation, yesterday’s biggest commercial court payouts can seem small and insignificant next to their modern counterparts.
We may eventually look back on today’s biggest commercial payouts similarly – as relatively small figures.
This is why we’ve selected five commercial court payouts that are big not only in monetary value, but in topicality and long-term legal significance.
These payments span several countries, with payouts in American and British courts potentially exceeding those from other less prosperous countries.
1. Morrissey’s Breach of Copyright Claim
Former The Smiths frontman Morrissey is known for his controversial opinions and fighting spirit. After his 1984 hit “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” was used in a television cooking show starring Gordon Ramsay, the singer claimed that Channel 4 never received permission from him to use the song.
His $14,800 payout was apparently donated to PETA to fight animal cruelty. Gordon Ramsay has been a popular target of the organisation for his restaurants, which are popular for their foie gras dishes.
2. Rolls Royce’s Logo Battle
Danish chocolate manufacturer PR Chokolade A/S was forced to pay over 250,000 kroner in damages to the well-known British luxury carmaker after it illegally used the famous Rolls Royce logo in its advertising.
The well-known luxury car brand registered its trademark over 100 years ago in 1904 and has never licensed it to any other companies, giving it a remarkably easy infringement case.
3. The £100 Million Concorde Victims Payout
On the 25th of July 2000, an Air France Concorde flight crashed into a hotel located in the commune of Gonesse, killing over 100 passengers and aircrew. The German victims, who numbered 96 in total, were paid out £100 million – over £1 million per passenger.
Legal experts believe that the record payout – which came just eight months after the crash – was deliberately high in order to reduce the chances of an even more expensive settlement being sought in the United States.
4. The £18.4 Billion PPI Mis-Selling Scandal
While this case is still going on and the total cost hasn’t yet been established, more than £18.4 billion has already been paid to victims. Several British banks employed illegal and misleading tactics to sell PPI (payment protection insurance) to hundreds of thousands of British adults.
Over 3,000 claims were being made each and every day earlier this year, with over £400 paid out to every British adult on average. This case is likely to be a massively costly endeavour for the banks involved in the mis-selling scandal.
5. BP’s Incredibly Costly Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
BP has spent billions of dollars fighting and settling claims related to its Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Many of the cases began in 2010 after the explosion and spill but have yet to be resolved in the courts.
BP has spent an estimated $19.7 billion fighting cases related to the spill already – a figure that’s less than half of its alleged $40 billion litigation and settlement budget.