Emory Law Journal

Volume 59Issue 3

Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker: The Perils of Judicial Punitive Damages Reform

Jeff Kerr | 59 Emory L.J. 727 (2010)

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker established a conservative one-to-one cap on the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages in maritime law. This decision raises the question whether the Court will apply a similar constitutional limit in future punitive damages cases. In the meantime, lower courts have already begun to rely on Exxon Shipping as persuasive authority for limiting punitive damages further than the Supreme Court’s previous cases require. This Comment argues that Exxon Shipping’s one-to-one cap in maritime cases is inconsistent with key principles of punitive damages law, advises against the application of Exxon Shipping’s one-to-one cap in non-maritime cases, and explains why the Supreme Court should not enact a similar cap on punitive damages in future constitutional cases.

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Killing One’s Abuser: Premeditation, Pathology, or Provocation?

Christine M. Belew | 59 Emory L.J. 769 (2010)

This Comment illustrates how the current American approach of limiting battered women who preemptively kill to claims of self-defense has resulted in distortions in the law. It explores some of the practical results of using self-defense for battered defendants in nonconfrontational cases and demonstrates that this approach leads to outcomes that are in tension with social sentiments and the goals of the criminal law. Therefore, a new strategy is needed to better accommodate such cases. In proposing a new solution, this Comment draws from the experiences and strategies of approaches used in Australia and England to address the issues posed by battered defendants.

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