December 18, 2009

"The Need for Enforcement of U.S. Punitive Damages by the European Union"

The Minnesota Journal of International Law has an article by Jessica J. Berch in its Winter 2010 edition entitled "The Need for Enforcement of U.S. Punitive Damages by the European Union." For those of you with access to Westlaw or Lexis, the citation is 19 Minn. J. Int'l L. 55.

As Adam Liptak of the New York Times noted in a story last year, many European nations refuse to enforce U.S. punitive damages awards because they believe that compensation should be the only goal of civil litigation, and punishment should be reserved for criminal proceedings. Ms. Berch would like that to change, as summarized in the article's conclusion: "In a world with increasing amounts of cross-border transactions, it is imperative that judgments can be enforced in countries other than the one handing down the judgments. If another round of negotiations begins over the provisions of the Hague Convention, this author hopes that both sides will be more informed about the trends in punitive damages and will use that information to grant reciprocal, uniform, and liberal enforcement to all foreign judgments."

UPDATE: (1/11/10: Donna Bader comments on this post at her blog, An Appeal to Reason.)