Are Punitive Damages Really Insignificant, Predictable, and Rational? A Comment on Eisenberg et al
This comment on an empirical study of punitive damages by Theodore Eisenberg and several coauthors makes three main points. First, contrary to what they imply, Punitive damages may be a significant factor in litigation despite the fact that only a small fraction of cases in their sample involve punitive damage judgments. Second, notwithstanding their interpretation, their results are consistent with the possibility that punitive damages are awarded on a random basis. Third, in opposition to their suggestion, punitive damages may not be rational even if the level of punitive damages is systematically and positively related to the level of compensatory damages. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.