January 15, 2011

Wisconsin moves towards cap on punitive damages

The AP is reporting (via Bloomberg) that the Wisconsin Senate Judiciary committee has approved a measure to cap punitive damages at $200,000 or twice the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.  The full senate is set to vote on the measure on Tuesday.  Gov. Scott Walker supports the proposal.

If the bill passes, Wisconsin will apparently become the 25th 30th state to have some sort of limit on punitive damages.  (See pages 12-13 and 27 of this article).  That includes states that prohibit punitive damages altogether.  Of the states that cap punitive damages at a specific amount, the $200,000 cap in Wisconsin would be the lowest number that I'm aware of.  If anyone knows about a cap at a lower dollar figure, please let me know.  The caps I know about are either $500,000 (e.g., Alabama, Alaska, and Florida), $350,000 (e.g., Virginia and New Jersey) or $250,000 (e.g., Georgia, North Carolina, and North Dakota).