Logourl black

BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore

United States Supreme Court
517 U.S. 559 (1996)


Facts

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

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Breyer, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 78,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 10,692 briefs - keyed to 140 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now