Supreme Court Cuts Disgruntled Investor’s $500 Million Verdict Against California Tax Collectors to $50,000

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The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, June 18, 2012. (Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

The Supreme Court has shielded California and its taxpayers from “hostile” juries in neighboring Nevada who have been willing to hand down big verdicts on behalf of those who fled California in search of lower taxes.

The 6-2 decision threw out of most of a $500-million verdict won by a disgruntled inventor who left for Nevada decades ago and then sued California’s tax collectors for harassment.

Nevada’s willingness to uphold such big verdicts against California “reflects a policy of hostility … to a sister state,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

The decision upheld $50,000 of the once huge verdict — just 1% of the original total — in favor of Gilbert Hyatt, an inventor who said he was hounded and harassed by California tax collectors after he left the state in either 1991 or 1992.

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