Nebraska is one of only four jurisdictions where punitive damages in civil suits are not recognized. It is, however, the only state which finds such damages to be unconstitutional. While punitive damages are often criticized and susceptible to abuse, this Comment outlines areas in which punitive damages are necessary for the maintenance of order and peace in society. Also a set of guidelines will be developed which best utilize the purposes of punitive damages while at the same time curbing any abuses inherent in such awards.
I. Introduction … A. Brief History and Purposes of Punitive Damages … 1. Punishment/Retribution … 2. Deterrence … 3. “Private Attorney General” … B. Unconstitutionality in Nebraska
II. Punitive Damages in Other Jurisdictions … A. Standard of Culpability Necessary to Trigger Punitive Damages … B. Extent of Liability
III. Role of Punitive Damages: When Imposition Will Best Serve Their Purpose … A. Conduct Generally Prosecuted as a Crime … B. Conduct Which Is Criminal But Rarely Prosecuted … C. Noncriminal Conduct
IV. Application of Punitive Damages … A. Vicarious Liability … B. Insurability of Punitive Damages … C. Requirement of Actual Damages … D. Requirement That Punitive Award Be Commensurate with Compensatory Award … E. Mass Disaster Litigation
Lisa M. Broman,
Punitive Damages: An Appeal for Deterrence,
61 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol61/iss4/5