The Predictability of Punitive Damages Awards in Published Opinions, the Impact of Bmw V. Gore on Punitive Damages Awards, and Forecasting Which Punitive Awards Will Be Reduced

Posted: 26 Aug 1999

See all articles by Theodore Eisenberg

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased)

Martin T. Wells

Cornell University - Law School

Abstract

This article assesses the relation between compensatory damages and punitive damages in cases leading to published opinions and BMW v. Gore's impact on the patterns of punitive damages awards in these opinions. We find that punitive damages awards are considerably higher in cases leading to published opinions than in trial level cases. But the correlation between compensatory and punitive awards found in trial level data persists in published opinions and is all but indistinguishable from the correlation in trial level data. We find no significant difference in the pattern of awards before and after BMW and no significant difference in the rate at which courts order a reduction in punitive damages awards. We also find that the mass of trial level awards provides a powerful tool for predicting the outcome of judicial review of punitive damages awards.

Suggested Citation

Eisenberg, Theodore and Wells, Martin T., The Predictability of Punitive Damages Awards in Published Opinions, the Impact of Bmw V. Gore on Punitive Damages Awards, and Forecasting Which Punitive Awards Will Be Reduced. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=163028

Theodore Eisenberg (Contact Author)

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased) ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Martin T. Wells

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Comstock Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-8801 (Phone)

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