Jentz 11e-AM-Ch06 - CHAPTER 6 INTENTIONAL TORTS ANSWER TO CRITICAL ANALYSIS QUESTION IN THE FEATURE CONTEMPORARY LEGAL DEBATESWHERE DO YOU STAND(PAGE

Jentz 11e-AM-Ch06 - CHAPTER 6 INTENTIONAL TORTS ANSWER TO...

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C HAPTER 6 I NTENTIONAL T ORTS A NSWER TO C RITICAL A NALYSIS Q UESTION IN THE F EATURE C ONTEMPORARY L EGAL D EBATES —W HERE D O Y OU S TAND ? (P AGE 119) Large damages awards in tort litigation have to be paid by someone. If the defendant is insured, then insurance companies foot the bill. Ultimately, though, high insurance rates are passed on to consumers of goods and services in the United States. Consequently, tort reform that reduces the size and number of damages awards ultimately will mean lower costs of goods and services to consumers. The downside of these lower costs, though, might be higher risks of medical malpractice and dangerous products. Do you believe that this trade-off is real? Why or why not? Insurance often covers damages awards in the United States, and the premiums can be  adjusted to reflect increased amounts of awards. But insurance premiums can also go up  simply to increase the profits of the insurance companies. Such increases may also be  passed on to consumers. If damages awards have been curtailed, businesses and consumers  would thus be paying higher prices without a trade off. If insurance premiums were lowered  to reflect lower damages awards—this seems unlikely, at least in the long run—it is not  likely that a business would be willing to take higher risks with dangerous products. The  business’s reputation could suffer, and its profits could as easily disappear as if they were  paid to insurance companies as premiums. If tort liability is a businessperson’s primary  concern, then locations in which damages awards are fewer in number and lower in amount  might be appropriate places in which to choose to do business. A NSWERS TO Q UESTIONS AT THE E NDS OF THE C ASES C ASE 6.1—(P AGE 116) T HE E THICAL D IMENSION The court stated that punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for reprehensible behavior. If so, should the punitive damages go to one plaintiff or be shared by all buyers of Ford 43
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44           UNIT TWO:  TORTS AND CRIMES products or by the general public? Why or why not?   Juries clearly intend to punish the  tortfeasor, but the Supreme Court has noted that the punitive damages can be way out of  proportion to the actual damages inflicted, essentially bankrupting a company based on one  action. That means no other later-injured party ever collects anything. Hence there are now  limits the court has imposed on punitive awards. Some commentators have suggested that  because punitive damages are punishment, not a reward for the plaintiff, the funds should  go to the public via the state or federal government.” T HE L EGAL E NVIRONMENT D IMENSION Why did the appellate court indicate that the plaintiff had been “healthy prior to the accident”?
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  • Fall '09
  • Gough
  • Business Law, damages awards, Chapter 6—Pages

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