June 8, 2010

Richard Epstein: Punitive Damages Against BP Will Only Make Matters Worse

Law professor Richard A. Epstein of the University of Chicago has a column in Forbes magazine entitled "BP's Endless Nightmare in the Gulf," in which he argues against the imposition of punitive damages for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prof. Epstein contends that punitive damages against BP, Transocean, and Halliburton would be a bad idea for two reasons: (1) a large punitive damages award could deplete the funds that would otherwise be available to provide full compensation for all injured parties, including those whose injuries may not be immediately apparent, and (2) tying up the companies in punitive damages litigation will distract them from the more pressing task of stopping the leak and cleaning up the damage.

Related posts:

The "Big Oil Polluter Pays Act": Probably Unconstitutional

Gulf Oil Spill: Punitive Damages Bonanza?