BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore
United States Supreme Court
517 U.S. 559 (1996)
In 1990, Gore (plaintiff) purchased a black BMW car from an Alabama franchise of BMW of North America (defendant). After driving the car for nine months with no problems, Gore took the car into an independent detailer to embellish the car’s paint. The detailer noticed that the car appeared to have been repainted. Feeling that he had been cheated, Gore brought suit in Alabama state court against BMW of North America on the grounds that its failure to disclose that the car was repainted prior to purchase constituted suppression of a material fact. He sought $500,000 in compensatory and punitive damages and costs. At trial, BMW acknowledged that it adopted a nationwide policy in 1983 concerning cars damaged in the course of manufacture or transportation. If the cost of repairing the car was more than three percent of the car’s suggested retail price, the car was repaired and sold as used. However, if the cost of repair was less than three percent of the car’s retail value, the car was repaired and sold as new without advising the purchaser that the car was ever damaged. Since the cost of repainting Gore’s car was only 1.5 percent of its retail value, it was repainted and sold to him as new. The jury awarded Gore $4,000 in compensatory damages based on its finding that a repaired car was worth less than a new car and assessed $4 million in punitive damages because it found that BMW’s nondisclosure policy constituted “gross, oppressive, or malicious fraud.” On appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court rejected BMW’s assertion that the punitive damages violated its due process rights, but reduced the award of punitive damages to $2 million. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)
Concurrence (Breyer, J.)
Dissent (Scalia, J.)
Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 154,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,500 briefs, keyed to 184 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.