June 11, 2008

"Punishment Defanged: How the United States Supreme Court Has Undermined the Legitimacy and Effectiveness of Punitive Damages"

Heather R. Klaassen, a law student at Washburn University School of Law, has written this Comment on Philip Morris v. Williams (Williams II) for the Washburn Law Journal: "Punishment Defanged: How the United States Supreme Court Has Undermined the Legitimacy and Effectiveness of Punitive Damages." (No link is available but the citation is 47 Washburn L.J. 551.)

The comment blasts the U.S. Supreme Court's punitive damages decisions as misguided, and calls on the Court to abandon this line of caselaw entirely. Klaassen says the Court has undermined the traditional fact-finding role of the jury; has adopted guideposts for evaluating the excessiveness of punitive damages that "have little relationship to the facts of the case;" has undermined the power of state courts to punish and deter; and, in Williams, adopted a "semantic distinction between punishment-for-harm and punishment-for-reprehensibility that has no substantive or evidentiary value." She blames the Supreme Court's mistakes on the Justices' "desire to shape political decisions." Other than that, she thinks the Supreme Court is doing a great job!

UPDATE (on 6/17/08): An anonymous reader left a comment informing us that the article is now available on the Washburn University School of Law's website. Thanks for the tip!

1 comment:

  1. This article is now available at the Washburn University School of Law website. See http://washburnlaw.edu/wlj/47-2/articles/klaassen-heather.pdf (table of contents for Washburn Law Journal, v.47:2 is at http://washburnlaw.edu/wlj/47-2/)

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