August 1, 2011

The French dip deeper into punitive damages jurisprudence

We have in prior posts touched on the historic reluctance outside of the United States (such as in France) to embrace the routine awarding of punitive damages. Last fall we noted commentary suggesting that reluctance may be fading, as indicated by a French high court ruling allowing enforcement of certain foreign punitive awards. A recent newsletter from ILO (International Law Office) notes a similar trend, and offers some thoughts on the subject, particularly with regard to insurance coverage for such awards.

The introduction to the newsletter reads, "Recent developments point towards greater receptivity to punitive damages. In the past few months punitive damages have received increasing attention, not only from the legislature (leading to a proposed revision to the Civil Code), but also from the Court of Cassation. On December 1 2010 the Court of Cassation issued an interesting decision with regard to foreign judgments granting punitive damages. Whether insurance coverage will be available for foreign decisions awarding punitive damages may be a vital question for insureds, insurers and plaintiffs."

Check out the rest of the article online, titled, "Punitive Damages: is coverage available in France?" for more info.

Update (8/3/11): Professor Francois Xavier Licari, at the University of Metz,
has provided these additional helpful links:

Professor Xavier’s comment published in a French law review and posted on SSRN (in
French, but with an English abstract).

A case summary with link to the opinion decided by the court of cassation.