The Food-Chain Issue for Corporate Punishment: What Criminal Law and Punitive Damages Can Learn from Each Other

Engage, Vol. 9, No. 1, February 2008

7 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2008 Last revised: 22 Mar 2008

Christopher R. Green

University of Mississippi - School of Law

Abstract

The admiralty case now at the Supreme Court, Exxon v. Baker, presents the food-chain question for corporate punishment: how high in the corporate hierarchy must misbehavior go before the corporation itself may be punished? Every American jurisdiction allows corporations to be punished with criminal liability and with some form of punitive damages. In both criminal law and the law of punitive damages, there is persistent division about the food-chain question. However, the fields develop with virtually no contact from one to the other, and the rules states adopt in each field have no correlation with the rules they adopt in the other. I survey approaches in criminal law and punitive damages, argue that states have good reason to adopt the same rule in both fields, and point to several particular ways in which the development of the law in one field can profit from the insights of the other.

Keywords: Vicarious Liability for Punitive Damages, Corporate Criminal Liability, Punishing Corporations, Exxon v. Baker

Suggested Citation

Green, Christopher R., The Food-Chain Issue for Corporate Punishment: What Criminal Law and Punitive Damages Can Learn from Each Other. Engage, Vol. 9, No. 1, February 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1102754 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1102754

Christopher R. Green (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi - School of Law ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States

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