Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2009

Punishment

Steve P. Calandrillo

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Penalizing Punitive Damages: Why The Supreme Court Needs A Lesson In Law & Economics, Steve P. Calandrillo Jul 2009

Penalizing Punitive Damages: Why The Supreme Court Needs A Lesson In Law & Economics, Steve P. Calandrillo

Steve P. Calandrillo

Last fall’s landmark Supreme Court decision addressing punitive damages in the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill case has brought the issue of punitive awards back into the legal limelight. Modern Supreme Court jurisprudence, most notably BMW, State Farm, Philip Morris, and now Exxon Valdez in 2008, have concluded that such judgments are justified to punish morally reprehensible behavior and to “send a message” to evildoers. However, the Court has increasingly emphasized that the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause presumptively limits punitive awards, drawing an arbitrary line in the sand of no more than ten times actual damages.

This paper critically …