Litigators Urge Clarity Over Punitive Damage Rules

Law360, New York (May 10, 2008, 12:00 AM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts have regularly reduced punitive damage awards that have been deemed unconstitutional for violating defendant due process rights. However, large damage awards have continued to be doled out, leading defense attorneys to urge clearer standards and greater scrutiny for such verdicts in order to avoid a “punishment lottery.”

Several decisions in recent years have signaled the high court's efforts to limit punitive damages. For instance, in a February 2007 decision in Philip Morris v. Williams, the court rejected a...
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