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Precise Punishment: Why Precise Punitive Damage Requests Result In Higher Awards Than Round Requests, Michael Conklin Apr 2021

Precise Punishment: Why Precise Punitive Damage Requests Result In Higher Awards Than Round Requests, Michael Conklin

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

Imagine a setting where someone asks two people what the temperature is outside. The first person says it is 80 °F, while the second person says it is 78.7 °F. Research regarding precise versus round cognitive anchoring suggests that the second person is more likely to be believed. This is because it is human nature to assume that if someone gives a precise answer, he must have good reason for doing so. This principle remains constant in a variety of settings, including used car negotiations, eBay transactions, and estimating the field goal percentage of a basketball player.

This Article reports …


Punishment But Not A Penalty? Punitive Damages Are Impermissible Under Foreign Substantive Law, Paul A. Hoversten Mar 2018

Punishment But Not A Penalty? Punitive Damages Are Impermissible Under Foreign Substantive Law, Paul A. Hoversten

Michigan Law Review

It is a well-established principle that no court applies the penal laws of another sovereign. But what exactly is a penal law? According to Judge Cardozo, a penal law effects “vindication of the public justice” rather than “reparation to one aggrieved.” Although courts have historically treated punitive damages as a purely civil remedy, that attitude has shifted over time. Modern American punitive damages serve not to compensate the plaintiff but to punish the defendant on behalf of the whole community. Therefore, when courts rely on foreign substantive law to impose punitive damages, they arguably violate the well-established principle that no …


It Is Time For Washington State To Take A Stand Against Holmes's Bad Man: The Value Of Punitive Damages In Deterring Big Business And International Tortfeasors, Jackson Pahlke Nov 2016

It Is Time For Washington State To Take A Stand Against Holmes's Bad Man: The Value Of Punitive Damages In Deterring Big Business And International Tortfeasors, Jackson Pahlke

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In Washington State, tortfeasors get a break when they commit intentional torts. Instead of receiving more punishment for their planned bad act, intentional tortfeasors are punished as if they committed a mere accident. The trend does not stop in Washington State—nationwide, punitive damage legislation inadequately deters intentional wrongdoers through caps and outright bans on punitive damages. Despite Washington State’s one hundred and twenty-five year ban on punitive damages, it is in a unique and powerful position to change the way courts across the country deal with intentional tortfeasors. Since Washington has never had a comprehensive punitive damages framework, and has …


Invading The Realm Of The Dead: Exploring The (Im)Propriety Of Punitive Damage Awards Against Estates, Emily Himes Iversen Apr 2014

Invading The Realm Of The Dead: Exploring The (Im)Propriety Of Punitive Damage Awards Against Estates, Emily Himes Iversen

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Punitive damages are traditionally understood, at least in part, as damages designed to punish. It should therefore come as no surprise that, in the majority of states that have decided the issue, courts have chosen not to allow punitive damage awards against the estates of deceased tortfeasors. After all, the tortfeasor can no longer be punished (at least by tort awards). Nonetheless, punitive damages can also serve other purposes, such as deterrence. This Note argues that Michigan, a state which has not yet taken a stance, should adopt the minority position that allows punitive damages to be awarded against estates. …


The Future Of Classwide Punitive Damages, Catherine M. Sharkey Jun 2013

The Future Of Classwide Punitive Damages, Catherine M. Sharkey

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Conventional wisdom holds that the punitive damages class action is susceptiblenot only to doctrinal restraints imposed on class actions but also to constitutionaldue process limitations placed on punitive damages. Thus, it would seem that theprospects for punitive damages classes are even grimmer than for class actionsgenerally.This conventional picture misunderstands the role of punitive damages and, inparticular, the relationship between class actions and punitive damages. It eitherignores or underestimates the distinctly societal element of punitive damages, whichmakes them especially conducive to aggregate treatment. Furthermore, punitivedamages classes offer a solution to the constitutional due process problem of juriesawarding "classwide" damages in a …


A Financial Economic Theory Of Punitive Damages, Robert J. Rhee Oct 2012

A Financial Economic Theory Of Punitive Damages, Robert J. Rhee

Michigan Law Review

This Article provides a financial economic theory of punitive damages. The core problem, as the Supreme Court acknowledged in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, is not the systemic amount of punitive damages in the tort system; rather it is the risk of outlier outcomes. Low frequency, high severity awards are unpredictable, cause financial distress, and beget social cost. By focusing only on offsetting escaped liability, the standard law and economics theory fails to account for the core problem of variance. This Article provides a risk arbitrage analysis of the relationship between variance, litigation valuation, and optimal deterrence. Starting with settlement …


The Foggy Road For Evaluating Punitive Damages: Lifting The Haze From The Bmw/State Farm Guideposts, Steven L. Chanenson, John Y. Gotanda Jan 2004

The Foggy Road For Evaluating Punitive Damages: Lifting The Haze From The Bmw/State Farm Guideposts, Steven L. Chanenson, John Y. Gotanda

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In this Article, Professors Chanenson and Gotanda propose that courts treat comparable maximum criminal or civil legislative fines as a presumptive due process limit on punitive damage awards. The Article reviews the manner in which courts have implemented the three-guidepost framework for constitutional review of punitive awards laid out by the Supreme Court in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore and in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell. Finding that courts have struggled to articulate a coherent rationale and methodology for review of such awards, the authors propose a greater reliance on the third guidepost of …


A Taxing Settlement, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White Jan 2003

A Taxing Settlement, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White

Articles

The following essay is based on the talk "Government, Citizens, and Injurious Industries: A Case Study of the Tobacco Litigation," delivered by Hanoch Dagan last May to the Detroit Chapter of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and on the article "Governments, Citizens, and Injurious Industries," by Dagan and James J. White, '62, which appeared in 75.2 New York University Law Review 254-428 (May 2000). The authors hold conflicting view on the underlying issue of this topic: tobacco company product liability. Professor Dagan holds the position that tobacco companies are liable for harm done by their products; Professor …


Governments, Citizens, And Injurious Industries, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White Jan 2000

Governments, Citizens, And Injurious Industries, Hanoch Dagan, James J. White

Articles

In this Article, Professors Hanoch Dagan and James White study the most recent challenge raised by mass torts litigation: the interference of governments with the bilateral relationship between citizens and injurious industries. Using the tobacco settlement as their case study, Dagan and White explore the important benefits and the grave dangers of recognizing governments' entitlement to reimbursement for costs they have incurred in preventing or ameliorating their citizens' injuries. They further demonstrate that the current law can help capture these benefits and guard against the entailing risks, showing how subrogation law can serve as the legal foundation of the governments' …


The Role Of "Stories" In Civil Jury Judgments, Reid Hastie Dec 1999

The Role Of "Stories" In Civil Jury Judgments, Reid Hastie

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

A brief review of psychological theories of juror decision making is followed by an introduction to "explanation-based" theories of judgment. Prior empirical studies of explanation-based processes in juror decision making are then reviewed. An original empirical study of jurors' judgments concerning liability for punitive damages is presented to illustrate the explanation-based approach to civil decisions.


"Crimtorts" As Corporate Just Deserts, Thomas Koenig, Michael Rustad Dec 1998

"Crimtorts" As Corporate Just Deserts, Thomas Koenig, Michael Rustad

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Just as Grant Gilmore described "contorts" that lie on the borderline between contract and tort law, the authors coin the term "crimtort" to identify the expanding common ground between criminal and tort law. Although the concept of crimtort can be broadly applied to many areas of the law, this Article focuses on the primary crimtort remedy - punitive damages. The deterrent power of punitive damages lies in the wealth-calibration of the defendant's punishment. For corporations this means that punitive damages will reflect the firm's net income or net worth. The theoretical danger is that juries will abuse wealth by redistributing …


Taxation Of Punitive Damages Obtained In A Personal Injury Claim, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 1994

Taxation Of Punitive Damages Obtained In A Personal Injury Claim, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

The author explains that in recent court opinions and commentaries concerning whether punitive damages are taxable, considerable weight has been given to a negative inference that appears to lurk in a 1989 amendment to the relevant code provision, section 104(a)(2). To the contrary, he argues, the legislative history of that amendment and the form that the bill had when it was reported out of the Conference Committee establish beyond doubt that no such inference is warranted.


Compensatory And Punitive Damages For A Personal Injury: To Tax Or Not To Tax, Douglas A. Kahn Jan 1992

Compensatory And Punitive Damages For A Personal Injury: To Tax Or Not To Tax, Douglas A. Kahn

Articles

Since the adoption in 1919 of the Revenue Act of 1918, damages received on account of personal injuries or sickness have been excluded by statute from gross income.1 This exclusion, which does not apply to reimbursements for medical expenses for which the taxpayer was previously allowed a tax deduction,2 is presently set forth in section 104(a)(2). One might expect that a provision having recently attained the ripe age of 75 years without change in its basic language would have a settled meaning. However, recent litigation under section 104(a)(2) bristles with unsettled issues. Does the exclusion apply to punitive damages? To …


Clarifying A "Pattern" Of Confusion: A Multi-Factor Approach To Civil Rico's Pattern Requirement, Ethan M. Posner Jun 1988

Clarifying A "Pattern" Of Confusion: A Multi-Factor Approach To Civil Rico's Pattern Requirement, Ethan M. Posner

Michigan Law Review

In an attempt to provide some needed definitional clarity and redirect civil RICO toward its intended focus, this Note argues that the federal judiciary should interpret the pattern requirement narrowly, focusing on four basic factors that best demonstrate a prolonged, continuing example of criminal activity. By emphasizing (1) the presence of multiple victims, (2) the duration of the RICO defendant's criminal activity, (3) the number of illicit commercial transactions, and (4) the existence of independent criminal decisions, courts could consistently limit civil RICO to the most pernicious offenders. Part I of this Note will examine judicial interpretations of RICO and …


The Constitutionality Of Punitive Damages Under The Excessive Fines Clause Of The Eighth Amendment, Andrew M. Kenefick Jun 1987

The Constitutionality Of Punitive Damages Under The Excessive Fines Clause Of The Eighth Amendment, Andrew M. Kenefick

Michigan Law Review

This Note explores whether courts should look beyond the broad language in Ingraham v. Wright and scrutinize punitive damages under the excessive fines clause. Part I sets out the intuitive argument that punitive damages are analogous to criminal fines. Part II analyzes the Supreme Court's decision in Ingraham v. Wright and also reviews the few federal and state court decisions that have dealt with the excessive fines clause in civil cases, most of which have concluded that the clause has no application in a civil setting. This Part asserts that courts cannot rely solely on the Ingraham decision but must …


A Moderate And Restrained Federal Product Liability Bill: Targeting The Crisis Areas For Resolution, Aaron D. Twerski Apr 1985

A Moderate And Restrained Federal Product Liability Bill: Targeting The Crisis Areas For Resolution, Aaron D. Twerski

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In this article I have tried to offer a rational, feasible, and politically acceptable solution to the present product liability crisis. To do this, I have first set out the problem. I explain in Part I how courts have created the crisis by formulating incomprehensible legal standards. In Part II, I examine the difficulties with assessing punitive damages against a defendant. In Part III, I discuss the conflict between the torts and workers' compensation systems. In Part IV, I reflect on the need to protect wholesalers and retailers from needless litigation. Part V suggests that a federal study on the …


Class Actions For Punitive Damages, Michigan Law Review Aug 1983

Class Actions For Punitive Damages, Michigan Law Review

Michigan Law Review

This Note argues that a Rule 23 class action offers the best way to manage multiple actions for punitive damages. It begins by examining the policy underlying punitive damages and the plaintiffs interest in recovering them. It then explains why a limited fund is created when courts deny punitive damage recovery as a matter of law or when punitive claims exceed defendant's assets. The Note contends that a Rule 23(b)(l)(B) class action provides the best means to manage this limited fund and reviews the circumstances in which a district court may properly certify a class action for punitive damages. It …


Enjoining The Application Of The British Protection Of Trading Interests Act In Private American Antitrust Litigation, Michigan Law Review Aug 1981

Enjoining The Application Of The British Protection Of Trading Interests Act In Private American Antitrust Litigation, Michigan Law Review

Michigan Law Review

This Note argues that American courts should mitigate the impact of the PTIA on American antitrust litigation by enjoining British defendants from pursuing their rights under the Act. Part I examines the Act's principal effects on antitrust enforcement and the settlement process, and concludes that these effects are serious enough to warrant judicial intervention. Part II establishes a court's power to issue transnational antisuit injunctions, and considers the propriety of doing so. After briefly rejecting two practical objections to such injunctions - that they are impossible to enforce and will provoke international retaliation - Part II analyzes the doctrine of …


Punitive Surcharges Against Disloyal Fiduciaries--Is Rothko Right?, Richard V. Wellman Nov 1978

Punitive Surcharges Against Disloyal Fiduciaries--Is Rothko Right?, Richard V. Wellman

Michigan Law Review

This Article criticizes the award of a penalty surcharge in the name of appreciation damages. Contrary to the statements in the Rothko opinions, neither precedent nor treatises offers clear support for the shocking awards made against Rothko's disloyal executors. Furthermore, even if appreciation damages were to be viewed, against the thesis here advanced, as an appropriate remedy for some kinds of fiduciary breach, the measure is inappropriate for cases which, like Rothko, involve hidden conflicts of interest. This is so because the threat of severe penalties in hidden-conflict cases adds unacceptable legal costs to honest administrations-costs that cannot be …


A Perspective On The Michigan Law Of Damages, John W. Reed Jan 1978

A Perspective On The Michigan Law Of Damages, John W. Reed

Book Chapters

So also the subject of damages. There are some general principles, but damages is not a coherent body of law. It is small wonder that no one is writing books about it and that law schools do not provide courses in it. The standard, most widely cited text is McCormick on Damages, yet that book was published in 1935. There is no more recent book of consequence bearing that title. Professor Dan Dobbs's 1973 volume entitled Remedies contains, as one part of the book, an excellent analysis of recent damages developments; but McCormick continues to be the benchmark. As a …


Punitive Damages Under Section 102 Of The Labor-Management Reporting And Disclosure Act, S. Thomas Wienner Apr 1977

Punitive Damages Under Section 102 Of The Labor-Management Reporting And Disclosure Act, S. Thomas Wienner

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

It is firmly established that in a suit brought under section 102, a union member may ordinarily recover compensatory damages for any injury proximately caused by a violation of Title I or section 609. The courts are divided, however, on the question of whether a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages under section 102. This article will address that question by discussing the language and the legislative history of section 102, the conflicting decisions of the federal courts, and the relevant policy considerations.


Punitive Damages In Products Liability Litigation, David G. Owen Jun 1976

Punitive Damages In Products Liability Litigation, David G. Owen

Michigan Law Review

This article will first explore the doctrine of punitive damages and its compatibility with the theories of products liability. The functions of punitive damages and their applicability in the products liability context will then be examined, with particular consideration given to the three complicating factors raised by Judge Friendly in Roginsky. In the following section attention will focus on the various contexts in which manufacturer misconduct has arisen in the reported decisions and a number of unreported cases that have involved this issue. Finally, guidelines will be developed from these cases for determining the appropriateness of punitive damages awards …


Wrongful Dishonor, James J. White Jan 1976

Wrongful Dishonor, James J. White

Other Publications

Uniform Commercial Code section 4-402. I. Basic Liability II. Damages III. Miscellaneous Asides


Securities Regulation--Damages--The Possibility Of Punitive Damages As A Remedy For A Violation Of Rule 10b-5, Michigan Law Review Aug 1970

Securities Regulation--Damages--The Possibility Of Punitive Damages As A Remedy For A Violation Of Rule 10b-5, Michigan Law Review

Michigan Law Review

Several lower federal courts have recently been faced with this issue and have reached conflicting results in their attempts to resolve it. This Note will examine both the problems of statutory interpretation and the policy considerations that are involved in deciding whether punitive damages should be awarded in civil actions based on violations of rule I0b-5.


Restitution-Unjust Enrichment-Right Of Defaulting Purchaser To Recover Part Payment, Theodore J. St. Antoine S.Ed. Apr 1956

Restitution-Unjust Enrichment-Right Of Defaulting Purchaser To Recover Part Payment, Theodore J. St. Antoine S.Ed.

Michigan Law Review

Plaintiff made a prepayment of $59,946.67, or twenty-five percent, on twenty printing presses which it was purchasing for shipment to Russia. Before their delivery a federal regulation was promulgated under which plaintiff was denied an export license. Plaintiff therefore rejected tender of the presses, and defendant vendor sold them to a third party for $18,765 more than the contract price to plaintiff. Plaintiff sued to recover its down payment and the profit resulting from defendant's resale. On appeal from a judgment for defendant, held, reversed and remanded. A defaulting purchaser is entitled to restitution of its payments in excess …