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Volume 107

Note

The Missing Civility in Civil Damages: A Proposed Guidelines Structure for Calculating Punitive Damages

Ashley Stamegna, J.D. Candidate, Cornell Law School, 2022; B.S., University of Connecticut, Health Care Management, 2019

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8 Feb 2022

“[P]unitive damages are out of control”11. W. Kip Viscusi, The Social Costs of Punitive Damages Against Corporations in Environmental and Safety Torts, 87 GEO. L.J. 285, 333 (1998).—or so tort reformers say. The past two decades have witnessed heated debates over a range of tort reform proposals, from punitive damages caps to complete punitive damages abolition. This Note proposes a middle ground for tort reform: the adoption of a punitive damages schedule based on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines have enjoyed great success in both their mandatory and advisory stages because of the strong influence of numerical anchoring and the adjustment heuristic on sentencing decisions. This Note posits that the same effects of numerical anchoring may be leveraged and enjoyed by the civil system through the adoption of an advisory punitive damages schedule. By evaluating Supreme Court jurisprudence, existing data on punitive damages awards, and prior solutions proposed by tort scholars, this Note takes the first step in the long process of uncovering relevant factors necessary to creating an effective punitive damages schedule.

To read this Note: please click here: The Missing Civility in Civil Damages: A Proposed Guidelines Structure for Calculating Punitive Damages.

References

References
1 W. Kip Viscusi, The Social Costs of Punitive Damages Against Corporations in Environmental and Safety Torts, 87 GEO. L.J. 285, 333 (1998).
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