Page 2 -The Michigan Daily -Thursday, October 4, 1990
awards for punitive damages
WASHINGTON (AP) - The
Supreme Court, in a case that could
reshape how the American legal sys-
tem penalizes wrongdoers in law-
suits, wrestled yesterday with con-
flicting theories and accounts of sky-
rocketing punitive awards.
The outcome of the Alabama
case, in which an insurance company
was ordered to pay $1 million dollars.
for fraud, could have enormous im-
pact on business and consumers.
The dispute pits the Pacific Mu-
tual Life Insurance Company of
Newport Beach, California, against
Cleopatra Haslip, a former $8,000-a-
year librarian from Roosevelt City,
Haslip discovered her insurance
coverage had lapsed after incurring
$3,500 in medical and hospital bills
in 1982 for treatment of a kidney in-
The hospital demanded $600 be-
fore it would discharge Haslip; her.
doctor turned her case over to the
collection agency and her credit suf-
fered from her inability to pay the
Bruce Beckman, a lawyer for the
insurance company, said the jury
that awarded the money to a mother
of five was a violated the company's
constitutional due-process right to"
receive fair treatment.
"In the jury room, all it had to go
on was its own notion of right from
wrong," Beckman said."That is ex-
actly the arbitrary and discriminatory
enforcement due process condemns."
The system means wealthy com-
panies are hit with multi-million
dollar awards "even if the fault is
small," he said.
But Bruce Ennis, representing the
woman, said the penalty was based
on a 200 year tradition that gives ju-
ries broad but not unfettered discre-
tion to award punitive damages.
"You should not throw subtle
state tort law into disarray without
substantial evidence that the major-
ity of awards are unfair," Ennis told
Urging "judicial restraint," he
said,"there does not have to be a
constitutional remedy for every
Punitive damages have been,
"used throughout the land for 200
years," he said. Only nine states, he
said, have placed monetary limits o9
the awards after extensive re-exami-
nation by legislatures.
Haslip, who was in the audience
during the proceedings, said she still
owes money on her medical bills and
has not yet collected the $1,040,000
awarded by the Alabama jury.
A 4-4 split among the justices
who took part yesterday could
prompt the court to rehear the dis-
pute liter in its new 1990-91 term. 0
Since the case is not likely to be
reargued until next year
David Souter, confirmed by the
Senate on Tuesday should be in-
cluded in the final judgement of the
The justices extensively ques-
tioned both lawyers on yesterday, in-
dicating their apparent uncertainty
about deciding the case.
Justice Sandra Day O' Connor in
questioning Ennis said she is trou-
bled when juries impose big awards
without guidelines. Giving juries
limitless discretion, "is a very
strange notion of what due process
means," she said.
be divided. Think it over because
there is still time," De Villa said.
A bomb exploded at a wate
pumping station at the Philippine
LSA senior Andy Holcomb squeezes out Spatzle noodles from his special Spatzle noodle maker.
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Continued from Page 1
coup attempt since she took office
in February 19
"I think this is small thing and
we can controlsthis," he said. "We
wish to inform the public that the
armed forces is united. Except-for
this breakaway group, we are in con-
trol of all units in Manila and the
He appealed to mutineers to
"I just want to tell them that this
Continued from page 1
dam. The London-based international
human rights group said the report
was based on information gathered
by two representatives who inter-
viewed witnesses and victims in
The European Community an-
nounced Tuesday that it will provide
$1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, Jordan,
and Turkey as compensation for eco-
nomic hardships they are suffering
because of the crisis.
'The armed forces is united. Except for this
breakaway group, we are in control of all
units in Manila and the entire country'.
-Gen. Rennato de Villa,
Chief of Staff, Philippino Armed Forces
civilians and the majority of the
armed forces of the Philippines."
"Don't allow our armed forces to
i . i
uprising is a big mistake and may
endanger our civilians," De Villa
said. "What they did is something
that cannot be supported by our
Army headquarters in Manila early
today, the 35th blast in the capitl
since last August.
E- lu JM4, i~I -
THE WAIT IS OVER!
Featuring the best of the
domestic tap beers
Open: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
A female demonstrator cries in pain yesterday when being arrested by
Berlin riot police after leftist protestors of German unity threw stones,
smashed windows and hurled molotov cocktails.
IS RETURNING TO
To find out how you can get
involved in starting a new
Fraternity at Michigan, contact:
Theta Xi Fraternity Headquarters
9974 Old Olive Street Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63141
In yesterday's paper we our definition of AZT was incorrect. AZT stands
for Azidothymidime or Zidovudine.
338 S. State
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