30%20October%20356%20Punitive%20Damages

30%20October%20356%20Punitive%20Damages - Punitive Damages...

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1 Punitive Damages in State Courts Are Punitive Damages Out of Control? Plaintiffs in tort cases won roughly half of the cases, but only 5 % were awarded punitive damages Note the handful of punitive damage awards in product liability cases Only 15 plaintiffs were awarded punitive damages in medical malpractice cases
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2 This median means half of the 217 plaintiffs received $25,000 or less in punitive damages This looks impressive, but only 28 cases involved $1 million or more in punitive damages Note the median punitive damage in less than the compensatory In 86 of 217 cases, punitive awards exceeded compensatory awards but only half were 4 times greater Do things look worse for product liability or medical malpractice?
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3 Does it matter whether a jury or judge hears the case? Interesting. Juries more often awarded punitives in contract cases than tort disputes. Judges decided differently No difference in median awards, but juries were more inclined than judges to award punitive damages ? Where’s the problem? Are punitive damages out of control?
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4 But, maybe the problem is a lot worse in Texas … ? A handful of “blockbuster” awards, which may have been reduced on appeal, get the attention. But they are far from being representative or typical of what happens in tort litigation involving demands for punitive damages. The Supreme Court Limits Punitive Damages
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5 Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Haslip No. 89-1279 Argued Oct. 3, 1990 Decided March 4, 1991 No. 89-1279 499 U.S. 1 After Haslip’s health insurance lapsed when the agent for Pacific Mutual misappropriated premiums paid by Haslip’s employer, Haslip filed for damages in state court, claiming fraud by the agent and seeking to hold Pacific Mutual liable on a respondeat superior theory. Following the trial court's charge instructing the jury that it could award punitive damages if it determined there was liability for fraud, the jury, among other things, returned a verdict for Haslip of over $1 million against Pacific Mutual, which included a punitive damages award that was more than 4 times the amount of compensatory damages Haslip claimed . The Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed, specifically upholding the
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30%20October%20356%20Punitive%20Damages - Punitive Damages...

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