Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Supreme Court to Consider Punitive-Damage Awards

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Supreme Court to Consider Punitive-Damage Awards

Article excerpt

Supreme Court to Consider Punitive-damage Awards WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether skyrocketing punitive-damage awards in personal-injury and other cases can go so high they become unconstitutional.

In a case of enormous importance to U.S. business and consumers, the court agreed to hear arguments in an Alabama insurance-fraud case that yielded a jury award of more than $1 million.

The court must decide whether punitive damages aimed at punishing wrongdoers and deterring similar misconduct may be so large in some cases that they are fundamentally unfair. A ruling is expected sometime in 1991.

Construction Spending Up 2.6 Percent WASHINGTON - Construction spending rose 2.6 percent in February, the government said Monday, as unusually warm weather continued across much of the nation.

The Commerce Department said residential, non-residential and government construction spending totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $436.5 billion.

That compared with a revised 2.5 percent gain the previous month, the warmest January on record. January spending was first reported last month to have risen 1.8 percent.

Spending in December, the fourth coldest since the government began keeping records 96 years ago, had slipped 0.3 percent.

All three major areas of spending advanced, with residential construction up 1.7 percent to $198.5 billion after gaining 2.9 percent in January.

Single-family spending rose 3.9 percent to $123.0 billion after a 2.8 percent increase the previous month. Apartment construction advanced 3.4 percent to $21.0 billion after falling 0.5 percent in January.

Non-residential spending rose 5.5 percent to $106.4 billion after a 6.1 percent jump in January. Industrial, office and other commercial building led the advance.

Housing Affordability Rises in February WASHINGTON - An index measuring the typical American family's ability to buy a house increased in February as lower prices and rising income offset higher mortgage rates, a real estate trade group said Monday. …

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