of the law governing punitive damages. Part II analyzes the possible
model--constitutional constraints, statutory caps on punitive damages,
negligence, or oppression, the law permitted punitive damages, thereby
states allow punitive damages in exceptional cases, defined by the
become clear that punitive damages were available not only under state
Even when defendants are at home, however, it is still incongruous for a state court to impose punitive damages based on another state's substantive law.
Nevertheless, state courts do impose punitive damages under foreign law, and juries do use foreign states' laws to express their own "social outrage" (20) at out-of-state defendants and out-of-state torts.
State courts refuse to impose criminal sanctions and civil penalties under other states' laws, but most courts show no compunction about borrowing foreign law to impose punitive damages. This Note argues that punitive damages are penal and that state courts violate fundamental choice-oflaw principles when they impose punitive damages under foreign substantive law.
The doctrine of punitive damages is an anomaly in the law.
Batterton sued Dutra, asserting a variety of claims, including unseaworthiness, and seeking general and punitive damages. Dutra moved to dismiss the claim for punitive damages, arguing that they are not available on claims for unseaworthiness.
Batterton argued that punitive damages are justified on "policy grounds or as a regulatory measure." But the court said that unseaworthiness in strict-liability form, while it is this "court's own invention and came after passage of the Jones Act," contradicts guidance provided by Congress.
Allowing punitive damages on unseaworthiness claims would also create "bizarre disparities" in the law, according to the opinion, which noted that because unseaworthiness claims run against the owner of the vessel, the owner could be liable for punitive damages while the ship's master or operator - who could be more culpable - would not be liable for such damages under the Jones Act.