Supreme Court Asks States to Reform Punitive Damages Laws
Schwartz, Victor E., State Legislatures
For the fifth time in the past six years, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of a punitive damages award.
The case, TXO Production Corp. vs. Alliance Resources Corp. et. al., features a jury award of $19,000 compensatory damages and $10 million punitive damages--a ratio of more than 530 to 1.
The decision to hear this case came as a surprise because the Court had directly addressed the punitive damages issue in March 1991 in Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co. vs. Haslip, now commonly known as the Haslip case.
In Haslip, the Court determined that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment placed restraints on the common law of punitive damages. Although the plaintiff in Haslip was successful in keeping her punitive damages award and the constitutionality of Alabama's law on …
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Publication information: Article title: Supreme Court Asks States to Reform Punitive Damages Laws. Contributors: Schwartz, Victor E. - Author. Magazine title: State Legislatures. Volume: 19. Issue: 4 Publication date: April 1993. Page number: 33. © 2009 National Conference of State Legislatures. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
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