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The Changing Landscape of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards

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  • Alison F. Del Rossi
  • W. Kip Viscusi

Abstract

This article investigates the determinants of the blockbuster punitive damages awards of at least $100 million. As of the end of 2008, there had been one hundred such awards with an average value of $3.0 billion. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in State Farm v. Campbell suggested a single-digit upper bound on the punitive damages-compensatory damages ratio, which reduced the annual number of blockbuster awards, the total annual value of blockbuster awards, and the punitive damages-compensatory damages ratio. Applying the 1:1 ratio from Exxon Shipping Co. et al. v. Baker et al. broadly would eliminate most of the blockbuster awards. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Alison F. Del Rossi & W. Kip Viscusi, 2009. "The Changing Landscape of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 116-161.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:12:y:2009:i:1:p:116-161
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahp018
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1997. "Are Punitive Damages Really Insignificant, Predictable, and Rational? A Comment on Eisenberg et al," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 663-677, June.
    2. Manning, Richard L, 1994. "Changing Rules in Tort Law and the Market for Childhood Vaccines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 247-275, April.
    3. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Punitive Damages: How Judges and Juries Perform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-36, January.
    4. Eisenberg, Theodore, et al, 1997. "The Predictability of Punitive Damages," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 623-661, June.
    5. Viscusi, W Kip & Moore, Michael J, 1993. "Product Liability, Research and Development, and Innovation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 161-184, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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