June 27, 2011
McGovern on Punitive Damages Class Actions
I just ran across an article by Francis McGovern entitled "Punitive Damages and Class Actions" 70 Louisiana L. Rev. 435 (2010). Here is a flavor of the piece from the introduction:
Notwithstanding the chilly reception that punitive damages class actions have received from appellate courts, there are several approaches at the micro and macro levels of analysis suggesting that “hope” is still persistent. By disaggregating the United States Supreme Court punitive damages jurisprudence, it is possible to identify a limited number of factual scenarios where a class action for punitive damages could be successful. These micro-level observations can constitute a road map for navigating the current seemingly insurmountable barriers that have severely limited the use of class actions in punitive damages claims. At the macro level, there are two observations that could lead to a revision of punitive damages class actions: the seemingly undaunted, pragmatic desire on the part of trial judges to resolve similar cases collectively, and the powerful support for an economic vision of punitive damages that leads inevitably to a global, rather than individual, procedural approach.
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