April 24, 2008

Are We "Anti-Punitive Damages All Day, Every Day, Without Exception?"

As Howard Bashman observes, we are not. Since we launched this blog at the start of 2008, we've been discussing punitive damages cases and linking to other blogs, law review articles, and press reports about punitive damages. Sometimes we comment on those stories, and our comments are generally from a defense perspective, since our firm (and the three of us who post on this blog in particular) regularly represents defendants who are challenging large punitive damages awards on appeal. But personally, I believe that punitive damages awards can be appropriate in certain cases, so long as proper procedures are followed and the amount of the award is not unreasonable. Unfortunately, in California we have juries that are all too willing to hand out punitive damages awards that are way out of proportion to the actual harm involved or the gravity of the conduct at issue, or for some other reason just aren't the right way to deter conduct.