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Punitive Damages

 
 
gollum
 
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2022 05:05 am
Sometimes a losing defendant is assessed punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. If he stole $1 then he must repay $1 in compensatory damages, plus a large sum in punitive damages to punish him and put other bad guys on notice that they could be wiped out, so better be good.

I think assessing punitive damages can be desirable for its punishment effect on the bad guy.

However, why should the plaintiff profit? It has already been made whole through compensatory damages.
 
View best answer, chosen by gollum
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2022 01:14 pm
@gollum,
The plaintiff is not really made whole from compensatory damages. Taking someone to court, especially if they are a business with deep pockets, is a very expensive, time consuming and emotionally exhausting effort. The man who sued Ford and other car makers for stealing his patent on intermittent wipers (for example) pretty much had his life destroyed in his pursuit for justice (and got a fraction of what he deserved.) You don't want the state to get the money since that incentivizes the state to issue large awards, so why not the victim?
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2022 03:56 pm
@engineer,
engineer-

"so why not the victim?"

I think that it depends on the facts of the particular case.

engineer
 
  0  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2022 04:02 pm
@gollum,
Who else would you consider?
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2022 04:26 pm
@gollum,
As engineer said: compensatory damages just pay for the lost monies a person incurred. It is to restore what was had prior to the time harm was inflicted.

In many cases punitive damages are paid to accident victims for their emotional trauma. No money in the world can compensate for trauma or complete bankruptcy and financial hardship in cases of money theft.

Each case is different and so is the amount of punitive damages which by the way has is taxed at 30 % unless it's accident related.
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2022 01:28 am
@CalamityJane,
Calamity Jane-

I agree with you. Each case is different.

Let's take the Alex Jones case.

I would have the court take almost all his earthly goods. I would also take his future income over the poverty level.

That said, I would not award the funds to the plaintiffs beyond their expenses.

Each family has lost something immense but nothing something monetary. It is bizarre to "recompense" the loss of a child by making that person a multimillionaire.
engineer
 
  0  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2022 06:34 am
@gollum,
That is a good case study. These people have been non-stop harassed for years now, received death threats, confronted in the street by strangers. Emotional toll has been extreme but you say no monetary compensation? Who would you give the monetary compensation to if not the victims?
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2022 06:43 am
@engineer,
I would give monetary compensation to those persons who lost money (or something fungible) due to wrongdoing.
engineer
 
  0  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2022 11:48 am
@gollum,
Who would that be? You've said you would take everything from Jones, who would you award it to?
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2022 04:13 am
@engineer,
engineer-

I would award it to a suitable charitable organization or government agency.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2022 10:45 am
@gollum,
Doesn't that give the government incentive to assign punitive damages? Isn't that like small towns which set up speed traps to fund the local police departments?
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2022 12:30 pm
@engineer,
engineer-

It could through that is not my intention.

Also, I think that it is the jury, not the judge, who decides the dollar amount of punitive damages in most cases.

Also, I think that in many cases, the judge has discretion to assess a fine or other payment against someone appearing before the court. I admit the judge could abuse that discretion.
CalamityJane
  Selected Answer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2022 02:52 pm
@gollum,
gollum,

you make it easy on yourself to sell your stance. It's much more complicated.
Let's take your example of Alex Jones and the parents of Sandy Hook who sued him. Their agony and their tremendous loss has resulted in monetary damages,
their health has been affected and will be affected until the day they die.

Punitive damages means that the court/jury acknowledges the tremendous hardship and trauma a person has endured to a crime that was to no fault of their own. Of course, no money in the world can give them back their children, but we can compensate them for their suffering and the hardship they've had since then.

Giving the money to charity is misleading - most charities only give a certain amount to the cause, the bulk of donation is administrative i.e. salaries etc.
Giving the money to the government is contra productive. We know that a certain amount of government funds goes to the NRA.

You simply don't think that punitive damages should be awarded to individual recipients and that's very wrong.
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2022 03:22 pm
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane-

I concede some merit in your point. I am prepared to support the victim receiving limited punitive damages in such a case. But not millions of dollars for one person.
engineer
 
  0  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2022 07:01 am
@gollum,
I don't see the issue. Our civil justice system is completely dependent on victims seeking redress through the courts, often at significant personal expense. To continue with the Alex Jones example, the government is not going to do anything about his abuses. The only way to provide justice for his victims is for them to go to civil court, a process that has taken YEARS and significant expense. You want to say that they cannot "profit", but in that case, very few people would ever file suit. Who would be willing to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing a wrong doer for a few thousand dollars in compensation? The whole system is built to reward those who go after the bad guys to incentivize people. Another example is the fine for telemarketers who call numbers on the do not call list. These telemarketers know that they are violating the law, but who is going to take them to court? But if no one ever takes them to court, the law has no teeth. Some people make a hobby out of taking telemarketers to court, holding them to account and taking the penalty. You're saying they shouldn't get the penalty, so then no one can hold them accountable.
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 05:02 am
@engineer,
engineer-

I say punish the bad guy. In Alex Jones's case, take every nickel he has. Provide enough to the victim to make them whole monetarily. I wouldn't make them millionaires.
izzythepush
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 05:14 am
@CalamityJane,
It's the right wing argument, property is more important than people's lives.

If the parents at Sandy Hook had had their cars trashed, they should get the value of the car, but as their children were killed they don't deserve anything.

That's the attitude we're talking about.

A lot of Gollum's posts tend to be her complaining about people getting something she isn't

That and victim blaming, especially African American victims.

It's all very mean spirited stuff.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 06:20 am
@gollum,
If you do that, then Alex Jones gets no punishment at all. No lawyers will take the case of the victims without promise of compensation. The Jones case is different, but in many cases, the victims will not come forward without some promise of compensation for their time and effort. Our whole civil court system is dependent on victims being able to get punitive compensation. If you want to overhaul that, you will need to overhaul the entire system.
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 12:29 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush-

A person's life is most important.

The loss of ones children is infinite. Giving the parents $1 million doesn't address the loss because the loss was not monetary or fungible.

I think that the parents deserve something immense but not a big pile of money. I would cause Alex Jones to pay every penny he has plus his future income over the poverty line.

I don't remember writing any posts about someone getting something I'm not.

I don't generally blame victims, but I would add that some victims are partially culpable for their loss.

I don't think that I am mean-spirited.
gollum
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2022 12:34 pm
@engineer,
engineer-

I have said, I wish Alex Jones to hand over all that he has.

I don't think that the justice system is dependent on victims being able to get punitive compensation. I would guess that many cases do not involve punitive damages.
 

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