The judge in a landmark AIDS suit drastically reduced a $21.75 million jury award to Rock Hudson's lover Friday, ruling that Marc Christian should receive only $5.5 million.
Superior Court Judge Bruce Geernaert, while calling Hudson's behavior "outrageous" for not telling his lover of his AIDS diagnosis, said the jury's "passion" had led it to make the excessive award.In his written ruling, Geernaert said that both the compensatory and punitive damages were excessive, and he felt that the amounts he set were sufficient to compensate Christian.
He said he had given the matter much thought since an earlier hearing when he suggested a $3 million in punitive damages.
"Upon further reflection, in light of the entire record, a punitive damage award of $500,000 seems to fairly accomodate . . . the pertinent factors," Geernaert said. He set compensatory damages at $5 million.
Geenaert specified that these reductions would go into effect only if Christian accepts them. If he does not consent, Geernaert said he would order a new trial on damages.