The Changing Landscape of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards
Viscusi, W. Kip
Del Rossi, Alison F.
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 100 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.