Printer Friendly

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT AGREES TO REVIEW CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STATE SYSTEM FOR AWARDING PUNITIVE DAMAGES

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT AGREES TO REVIEW CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STATE
 SYSTEM FOR AWARDING PUNITIVE DAMAGES
 WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Punitive Damages Update issued the following:
 The California Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of a $2 million punitive damages award in Pacific Lighting Corp. v. MCW, Inc.
 According to Ted Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher: "The California system vests enormous discretion in juries whose verdicts are very seldom altered by trial judges or appellate courts and when they are reduced or modified, those decisions are unpredictable, inconsistent and capricious. Therefore, the California punitive damages regime violates all principles of due process. We are pleased the California Supreme Court has decided to grant review of the constitutionality of this system." (Olson represents Pacific Lighting Corp.)
 Originally remanded by the United States Supreme Court (March 1991) in light of its opinion in Pacific Mutual v. Haslip (111 S.Ct. 1031 (1991)), to the California 4th District Court of Appeals, the Pacific Lighting case asks the California Supreme Court to determine whether California's system for awarding punitive damages meets the constitutional due process standards articulated in the Haslip case.
 In Haslip, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Alabama's system for awarding punitive damages complied with constitutional due process standards. Under such a system, punitive damages receive both post-verdict and post-appellate review, and must meet specific criteria, including:
 -- Whether there is a reasonable relationship between the punitive damages award and the harm likely to result from the defendant's conduct as well as the harm that actually has occurred.
 -- The degree of reprehensibility of the defendant's conduct, the duration of that conduct, the defendant's awareness, any concealment, and the existence and frequency of similar past conduct.
 -- The profitability to the defendant of the wrongful conduct and the desirability of removing that profit and of having the defendant also sustain a loss.
 -- The "financial position" of the defendant.
 -- All costs of litigation.
 -- The imposition of criminal sanctions on the defendant for its conduct, these to be taken in mitigation.
 -- The existence of other civil awards against the defendant for the same conduct, these also to be taken in mitigation.
 In addition to the above standards, the system featured a comparative analysis and then detailed substantive standards developed for evaluating punitive awards. The appellate review makes certain that punitive awards are reasonable in their amount and rational in their purpose to punish.
 Punitive damages are awarded to punish defendants for alleged misconduct and to deter that misconduct in the future.
 -0- 7/9/92
 /CONTACT: Rose Licht for Punitive Damages Update, 202-337-5990/ CO: Punitive Damages Update ST: California IN: SU:


TW -- DC030 -- 8057 07/09/92 17:37 EDT
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 9, 1992
Words:444
Previous Article:WEST VIRGINIA $58.8 MILLION G.O. HIGHWAY BONDS RATED 'A+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
Next Article:AMERICAN STOCK EXCHANGE DAILY REPORT


Related Articles
Supreme Court asks states to reform punitive damages laws.
Supreme Court to reconsider punitive damages - again.
SUPREME COURT SAYS JUDGES MUST REVIEW PUNITIVE DAMAGES AWARDS FOR EXCESSIVENESS
Punitive damages and the Constitution.
Supreme Court to revisit punitive damages issue.
Oregon high court upholds Oberg punitive damages award on second review.
THE LAW.
CALIFORNIA SMOKER'S $25 MILLION VERDICT CUT BY MORE THAN HALF.
HOUSE PANEL WEIGHS STATUTORY CAPS ON PUNITIVE DAMAGES.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters