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The award of damages of the penal type was common in early legal systems and was mentioned in religious law already in Exodus. Punitive damages were established in Babylonian law almost 4,000 years ago in the code of Hammurabi, in Hittite law around 1400 BC, in the Hebrew covenant code for mosaic law around 1200 BC. and in the Hindu code of manu of about 200 BC. [Owen Criminal damages in product liability disputes, 74 Mich L Rev 1257, 1262 n17 (1976).]
The Exodus book in the Old Testament gives:
If a man steals an ox or sheep and kills or sells it , he shall pay five oxen for one ox and four sheep for one sheep. He shall make atonement; if he has nothing, he will be sold for his theft. If the stolen animal is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double. [EXODUS, 22:1]
The action for criminal damages has a long history. It was first articulated in England in cases of illegal entry. The jury was deemed to be entitled to go beyond "the minor damage suffered by the plaintiff" because of the desirability of taking into account "a boldest public attack made on the subject's liberty" by entry and imprisonment under "an unnamed order." [ Huckle v. Money 2 Will.KB 206, 95 Eng.Rep. 768 (1763) och Wilkes v Wood, Lofft 1, 18, 19, 98 Eng.Rep. 489, 498-99 (CP1763)}
In the mid-19th century, as punitive damages became an increasingly established part of American tort law, U.S. courts emphasized the purpose of criminal damages, for example, in Hawk v. Ridgway (1864) 33 Ill 473, 476, the court stated, “[where] error is misleading, or if it is intentional, the jury has the right to award an amount of damages in addition to the actual damages incurred as a punishment and to preserve the general calm. ”Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States noted in a unanimous "In 1868, therefore, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, punitive damages were undoubtedly an established part of American Community law." [ Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Haslip (1991) 499 US 1, 26, 113 L Ed 2d 1, 25, 111 S Ct 1032.]
Application of Penal Injuries
2003 The U.S. Supreme Court upheld limited criminal damages in the United States when State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell 123 S.Ct. 1513, 538 U.S. 408, 155 L.Ed.2d 585 (U.S. 04/07/2003 ) by 6-3 votes, set aside a judgment of $ 145 million against an insurance company.The Supreme Court concluded that a criminal damages of $ 145 million, where full compensatory damages were $ 1 million, is excessive and violates the clause in it.
Justice Kennedy, who wrote for the majority, restricted state and federal courts from awarding enormous criminal damages and concluded that punitive damages more than a single-digit multiplier of compensatory damages would rarely, if ever, pass the test. High The Supreme Court, in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore above, set forth specific tests that must be met before criminal damages can meet the requirements of due process.
© 2021 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to serving as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, infidelity and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award.
For the past 53 years, Barry Zalma has devoted his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurers and their claims staff to become insurers.
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