Punishing Tobacco Industry Misconduct: The Case for Exceeding a Single Digit Ratio Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages

  • Sara D. Guardino
  • Richard A. Daynard

Abstract

In State Farm v. Campbell, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that “few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages” will be constitutional. Several appeals courts have mistaken this language to be a strict mandate prohibiting punitive damages awards in excess of nine times the compensatory damages amount. This trend, however, may be changing. For example, in one recent smoking and health case brought against Philip Morris, an Oregon appeals court allowed a punitive damages award that was almost 97 times the compensatory damages award. This decision was based on the court’s finding that Philip Morris “used fraudulent means to continue a highly profitable business knowing that, as a result, it would cause death and injury to large numbers of Oregonians.” This article proposes that such wrongdoing (or, “primary” reprehensibility) justifies high punitive damages awards in the context of smoking and health litigation.
Published
2005-04-26
How to Cite
Guardino, Sara D., and Richard A. Daynard. 2005. “Punishing Tobacco Industry Misconduct: The Case for Exceeding a Single Digit Ratio Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages”. University of Pittsburgh Law Review 67 (1). https://doi.org/10.5195/lawreview.2005.69.
Section
Articles