Oregon Law Review : Vol. 89, No. 4, p. 1475-1500 : Punitive Damages: The Controversy Continues
Trickett, Rachel D.
Over the last few decades, states have responded to the controversy of punitive damage windfalls by implementing numerous statutory schemes that include caps on punitive damages and stringent burdens of proof. Oregon’s split-recovery scheme, while effectively curbing the problem of windfalls by allocating a portion to the State, has resulted in a new controversy. The Supreme Court of Oregon’s resolution of this controversy will have far-reaching effects. However, the limits of the Oregon Legislature to grant the State control over a plaintiff’s claim, the ample protections already provided for the State’s interest in an ultimate award of punitive damages, and the impracticalities of changing long-held principles of the American judicial system all indicate that the parties to a case need not obtain the State’s approval prior to settling a case.