Emory Law Journal


Jeff Kerr


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.