they violate the due process clause? Holding Yes. They used the gore guideposts 1. Degree of reprehensibility considerations: harm caused was physical as opposed to economic; tortious conduct evinced an indifference to or a reckless disregard of the health or safety of others; the target of the conduct had financial vulnerability; the conduct involved repeated actions or was an isolated incident; and the harm, was the result of intentional malice, deceit, or mere accident a. It is to be presumed that compensatories made the plaintiff whole, only punis if so reprehensible as to warrant punis 2. Ratio: above 3. Disparities between punitive damages and civil penalties authorized or impose in comparable cases: care must be taken to avoid the use of civil process to assess criminal penalties that can be imposed only after heightened criminal protections have been observed. Punis are not a substitute for the criminal sanction does not automatically sustain a punitive damage award Although Exxon was a maritime claim, it was 1 to 1 Note 2: evidence of defendants financial condition o Once held that wealth or poverty of defendant was relevant because an amount sufficient to punish a poor person may not have the same effect on the wealthy o Campbell the wealth of a defendant cannot justify an otherwise unconstitutional punitive damages award Note 3: Substantial compensatory awards and the 1-to-1 ratio o Court upheld 16:1 ratio. Seemingly because of the extreme reprehensibility in the case Note 4: bifurcated and trifurcated trials o Intro of evidence regarding how severely the defendant should be punished may sway the jurys decision o Bifurcated trial: many states divide the trial into stages dealing with compensatory first then punitive. o Trifurcated: 3 part trial. (1) whether liable for compensatory damages (2) whether punies should be imposed (3) how much for punies Note 5: Multiple suits and punies o When an event or product injures several consumers, there is a risk a defendant may be subject to multiple punies of separate actions o Campbell restricts consideration’s of extra-jurisdictional evidence, barring consideration of hypo claims and stating “precise award in any case must be based upon the facts and circumstances of the defendant conduct and the harm to the plaintiff” – would seem to go toward reducing any risk of excessive punishment Note 8: Vicarious liability for punies o May imposed under respondeat superior theory without violating due process Pacific life v haslip imposing damages on a corp when its agents commit intentional fraud creates an incentive by those in positions to guard substantially 57
Torts 1 Outline against the evil to be prevented. If they were liable only upon proof of independent fault, it would have an incentive to reduce oversight of its agents Note 10: punies and death of tortfeasor o Minority allow recovery of punies after tortfeasors death o Most don't because the central purpose is to punish the wrongdoer
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- Spring '08