‘Making Punitive Damages More Predictable’

Benjamin J McMichael and W Kip Viscusi, Taming Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards, 2019 University of Illinois Law Review 171. As tort reform heated up in the United States late in the last century, so too did the debate over the appropriateness of punitive damages awards, especially where those damages were seen to be excessive. Complicating the picture, of course, is what it means for such damages to be excessive in the first place, for, unlike traditional damages intended to compensate the injured party, punitive damages are intended to punish and deter the wrongdoing party. As a starting point, most courts and scholars are in agreement that the reprehensibility of the wrongdoing party and the amount needed to deter similar conduct in the future are important considerations that should be taken into account before awarding punitive damages. After this, however, all bets are off … (more)

[Marco Jimenez, JOTWELL, 14 August]

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