July 30, 2010

Does the Supreme Court Need a Lesson in Law and Economics?

Professor Steve P. Calandrillo of the University of Washington School of Law thinks so. He has published an article in the George Washington Law Review entitled "Penalizing Punitive Damages: Why the Supreme Court Needs a Lesson in Law and Economics."

Professor Calandrillo thinks that punitive damages should not be reserved for cases in which a defendant acted with malice or otherwise engaged in egregious misconduct. He contends punitive damages should be imposed whenever a defendant has escaped liability, or is likely to escape liability, for causing harm to others. He also thinks punitive damages should take into account harm to nonparties, and should play a quasi-compensatory rule, making plaintiffs whole for losses that are not otherwise compensated through the tort system, such as attorney's fees or harms that are legally non-compensable.

Some might ask whether Professor Calandrillo needs a lesson in the Due Process Clause. Read the article and judge for yourselves.