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picado t1_j3nojum wrote

Virginia state law caps punitive damages to a maximum $350,000, so this was automatic. The judge wasn't making any decisions about the merits of the case.


tehmlem t1_j3s1d2h wrote

This happens for nearly any big number punitive damages you hear about. Juries grant huge amounts and then state law limits it either with a flat cap as in this case or with extremely onerous requirements for proving the damages are directly related to the offending behavior.

In both cases they're designed to protect businesses from meaningful penalties and usually arrived on a wave of propaganda about how America is too litigious and plaintiffs are just looking for a payday.


[deleted] t1_j3o7ceg wrote



PropChop t1_j3o90q2 wrote

That's not what punitive damages are.


[deleted] t1_j3obmj7 wrote



putsch80 t1_j3oeeaw wrote

No, you literally are missing everything. This sentence alone tells me that:

>Diverting ENTIRELY from the fact that odds are good that the first number was accurate towards the damage caused.

Punitive damages aren’t meant to reflect compensation for damage cause. There is an entirely separate class of damages (compensatory damages) which deal with that and which are not covered by any sort of cap or by this judge’s decision. The sole, entire and exclusive province of punitive damages is to punish the tortfeasor, irrespective of the financial amount of damage they caused.


A white man who hates racist assholes, including not only the ones who carry tiki torches in Virginia but also the ones who assume opinions are automatically invalid because they came from a white person.


[deleted] t1_j3ofeoq wrote



z0nb1 t1_j3ohjlg wrote

What part of punitive vs compensatory damages did you not understand?


Thegarbagegamer97 t1_j3oijcj wrote

Dont waste your breath on people like that. Reasoning and logic are beyond their angry irrational brain’s capacity


PropChop t1_j3odp3h wrote

Go be pissed at the world somewhere else.


[deleted] t1_j3oe4oa wrote

Yes. Because you own this sub and this thread. Narcissism is a hell of a drug homie.


ProjectMoonsong t1_j3noe84 wrote

> While the court recognized “the jury verdict findings of Defendants’ liability,” and upheld the compensatory damages award, the order said it would reduce the punitive damages to $350,000, “as compelled by the Virginia statutory cap on punitive damages.”
> A Virginia state law limits the total amount awarded for punitive damages to $350,000 per case, but the law does not allow the jury to be advised of the punitive damages cap.

Headline is a bit inflammatory/clickbait-y for leaving out an important detail, though I wish they didn't have this limit so the group would have to pay the full $24 million.


[deleted] t1_j3nw750 wrote



woundedbearhair t1_j3o6tif wrote

Tort reform was sold to the middle class voter with lies about protecting costs of goods when it was really about keeping bad behavior profitable for the wealthy.


neuroticandobscene t1_j3s38ll wrote

And lies about the facts of headline cases, the McDonalds hot coffee case being the most prominent.


Emotional-Text7904 t1_j3oa4bm wrote

Same issue in Texas, doctors have a malpractice cap so they can only pay a certain amount max no matter how badly they fuck up. Doctors who cannot practice in other states due to lack of malpractice insurance or too expensive malpractice insurance can practice in Texas. So Texans, beware


TheGrandExquisitor t1_j3opltb wrote

Fun Fact - The British doctor who started the "vaccines cause autism," thing was struck off in the UK for being a shit doctor, but then moved to Texas!

Welcomed with open arms.


Thegarbagegamer97 t1_j3ovx6f wrote

I’d add it to the list of mistakes my state has made over the years, but for the past decade or two ive been running out of paper to write on faster than i can restock


Coogcheese t1_j3od50k wrote

Put in place by a total asshole who would not be where he is today and still benefits from a judgement from before those limits were put into place.


TUGrad t1_j3ok22f wrote

Malpractice insurance industry consistently pushes the lie that caps reduce healthcare costs.


SkyeSpider t1_j3sxj1f wrote

I ran into this in Oklahoma. A surgeon permanently screwed up my dominant hand. Every lawyer I spoke to said damages were capped at $150k (dropped to $75k a few years later), and the cost to go to court was more than that. I lost everything and couldn’t do anything about it. Fuck tort reform.


Emotional-Text7904 t1_j3sxry2 wrote

That's so awful. I'm so sorry that happened to you. I know medical tourism is a thing but you don't expect to need to take into account malpractice limits when choosing to have surgery ffs. And not everyone can afford to travel to a different state. That sucks so much


SkyeSpider t1_j3sy7fe wrote

I ended up moving to New York to avoid it happening again. I’ve had six surgeries on that wrist with no luck, but at least I’m protected from mistakes up here.


No-Bother6856 t1_j3phmzq wrote

The limit is on putnitive which is in addition to compensatory. This absolutely does not mean you can't be properly compensated for damages.


Flatline2962 t1_j3nx514 wrote

>he law does not allow the jury to be advised of the punitive damages cap.

Which is horseshit. You're asked as a juror to apply law without being told the law.


hijinked t1_j3nxr8j wrote

They don't want the jury to simply raise the compensatory damages to make up for the punitive damages cap.


Flatline2962 t1_j3o24wd wrote

That's the argument, but the reality of the law is that they don't want to damage or inconvenience truly wealthy people doing horrendous things.


SatanicNotMessianic t1_j3nyc26 wrote

Which is exactly what the jury should be allowed to do. It should be illegal to allow a jury to proceed under a misunderstanding of the law.

If I were a juror, I would advise my fellow jurors of anything and everything I could discover relative to the case, but it should be unlawful for a court to lie by omission like this.


denandrefyren t1_j3p2cru wrote

They do the same thing with jury nullification too. The system doesn't want the people to throw a wrench in things.


ProjectMoonsong t1_j3nypvw wrote

Actually I think that's probably the only "good" thing about this punitive damage cap. By declaring that there exists a cap, you create a constraint for the jury, so they may end up deciding on a smaller punitive damage because of the cap.

Instead, allowing jurors to decide on a larger punitive damage than the cap can have a symbolic meaning. The court is bound by law, they can't avoid it, but the jury isn't, so whatever amount they decide is the amount that they believe reflects the severity of the crime.


Flatline2962 t1_j3o1w2x wrote

>Instead, allowing jurors to decide on a larger punitive damage than the cap can have a symbolic meaning.

We've reached a point in society that "symbolic" victories are meaningless. Especially if you're the type of asshole that gets hit with 23 million in punitive damages.

Do you really think the white supremacists who had "symbolic" damages of 23 million give a damn? Especially now?


thebooknerd_ t1_j3nqv7j wrote

I know it’s never gonna happen for many reasons, but I wish they couldn’t make such clickbait-y headlines


Bedbouncer t1_j3t4pt4 wrote

They should have set the law to say that punitive damages, when awarded, can't be capped any lower than compensatory damages.

So it would have been 2 mill / 2 mill instead of 2 mill / $350K.

It's not really punitive if it's a fraction of the actual damages.


TUGrad t1_j3okgx7 wrote

"Among the 23 defendants was James Alex Fields, Jr., who sped his car through a group of counter protestors at the rally, injuring dozens and killing 32-year old Heather Heyer. Half of the damages awarded by the jury were against Fields.

Some of the most prominent figures of the alt-right — Jason Kessler, Matthew Heimbach, Richard Spencer and Christopher Cantwell — were also among the defendants."


wildbill88 t1_j3nv4kv wrote

Then what's the point of awarding so much if the jury is not privy to the limit?


picado t1_j3nx2c7 wrote

"We don't need to regulate corporations because if they do bad stuff then they'll get punished by lawsuits."


"You can't punish corporations with lawsuits."


"Corporations are above the law."


Flatline2962 t1_j3nxh3e wrote

Because the jury does it's job and then the courts overturn the Jury's verdict essentially.

In theory the juries don't get told about the cap because they'd just move the damages over to compensatory damages instead of punitive. In reality it's just an end-run around wealthy people being truly damaged from punitive damages.


jigokubi t1_j3o5jad wrote

Imagine a middle-class individual being fined $350,000. Now imagine a large corporation or a billionaire being fined the same amount. They found the sweet spot to punish normal people while letting the rich off the hook.


[deleted] t1_j3o71sp wrote

The point is to keep people from asking questions. There's zero doubt in my mind that the first amount was accurate to how much damage they did. But of course....the people of the city and state are the ones who paid for it. That's why they let the jury award it knowing it won't go through. To keep a lid on logical outrage.


Coogcheese t1_j3ocug1 wrote

>A Virginia state law limits the total amount awarded for punitive damages to $350,000 per case, but the law does not allow the jury to be advised of the punitive damages cap. Instead, in cases where a jury awards more than the $350,000 in punitive damages, the law requires judges to reduce the award to the maximum.

Possibly the dumbest thing ever....

Law: Hey jury, you get to pick a punitive number...

Jury: Something over 350K

Law: Psych! Can't do that! Haha.

Why not just tell them the max amount upfront and save everyone's time and money?


Rage_Like_Nic_Cage t1_j3ollrg wrote

so the initial headlines can read “So and So fined millions of dollars” and we all walk away feeling like justice was served when in reality it wasn’t.


pribnow t1_j3oceyt wrote

> A Virginia state law limits the total amount awarded for punitive damages to $350,000 per case, but the law does not allow the jury to be advised of the punitive damages cap

is this as unusual as it seems? it seems kinda insane to me at face value that you could prevent a jury from fully understanding the outcome of the verdict they're going to reach...


zwaaa t1_j3nscqx wrote

Definitely a misleading headline


pk10534 t1_j3onogr wrote

This headline is so misleading it’s bordering on disinformation. Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350,000 - the judge had no choice and this law was on the books before this event took place.


[deleted] t1_j3o5ex0 wrote



[deleted] t1_j3o76uz wrote

I hope so too but i highly doubt it. The way this went down and how long the court system knew they wouldn't be charged the full amount tells me odds are good they won't have to pay anything.


hiptones t1_j3oos4g wrote

Anyone who paid attention to the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial knows all about this state law capping punitive damages.


Grouchy_Energy_1394 t1_j3pc0mc wrote

Remember Heather Heyer, murdered by the Alt-right and neo nazi's. Rest in power Heather.


999others t1_j3o2g1t wrote

Maybe this judge would drop my mortgage to $10 a month.


[deleted] t1_j3o6sro wrote

So...broken windows. If you don't know what i'm talking about. Here ya go.



Anyway. That theory has been used as justification for sending all kinds of people of color into the system. Harsh punishments. Straight up stereotypes. Ruining lives on a grand scale. Only for something like this to happen.


What happens now? Well, the people of virginia will have to (if they haven't already) pay for white supremacist's night on the town. Or to put it even more simply. Hate filled straight white men once again get coddled. People love bringing up the rule of law only in situations in which it seems to benefit them or people like them. Until that is new laws are made to protect traditionally targeted groups. At which point it becomes a conspiracy to ruin america. Which also becomes the norm because certain types continue to need participation trophies.


SailboatAB t1_j3q1fxg wrote

Why can't they at least use each individual separately at the $350,000 cap? At least that would hurt them more.


HortaNord t1_j3ovjs3 wrote

look who's finally uniting the right


ZootedFlaybish t1_j3o799n wrote

Law is a farce - a tool of the wicked.


Dyanpanda t1_j3oy2rw wrote

Remember, we only use the justice system for justice when it works. When it doesn't, its just called justice.