Cases and examples:
In Grabinski v. Blue Springs Ford, 136 F.Supp. 565, 568 (8thCir. 1998), the Court of appeals upheld a $210,000 punitive damage award where the jury awarded $7,835 in compensatory damages. In Grabinski, the plaintiff action was based on the following misstatements of material fact: 1) The car was very nice; 2) the car was driving fine; 3) the car only needed a clean up and standard service; 4) the car was in excellent condition, had had one owner and had never been wrecked. The court determined that the jury had a reasonable basis to conclude that the dealer, defendant, should have been aware of the condition of the vehicle, which had been seriously damaged by a prior owner. Id at 569.
In Chezik Homerun v. NKC Motors, 153 F.3d. 1014 (8thCir. 1998), the Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict for $6,900 in compensatory damages and $35,000 in punitive damages. The jury had determined that the defendant had violated the applicable Consumer Fraud Statute by misrepresenting 1) the car was a one-owner car; 2) the car had been traded in because the prior owner wanted an upgrade; 3) the car had nothing wrong except a pop can holder. The jury also found the defendant had violated the Act by concealing (representing by silence) that the car had sustained prior wreck damage.