Limits on Multiple Punitive Damages Resolution Exposed

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The Limits on Multiple Punitive Damages Resolution was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force and approved by the ALEC Board of Directors in 1999. According to, the Resolution was re-approved by the Board of Directors on January 28, 2013. (Accessed on 2/22/2016).

CMD's Bill Summary

This Resolution attempts to limit the power of juries to award punitive damages for intentional misconduct or gross negligence that seriously injures or kills an American. In essence, the goal of the Resolution is to limit punitive damages to one plaintiff in one jurisdiction no matter how many people are injured or killed as a result of the corporation's product or actions across the country.

ALEC Bill Text

WHEREAS, multiple punitive damages claims are a major obstacle to comprehensive settlement negotiations in repetitive litigation between plaintiffs and dependents; and

WHEREAS, limiting multiple punitive damages awards would open the way for the prompt resolution of claims involving many injured plaintiffs; and

WHEREAS, state and lower federal courts can provide only incomplete solutions to the problems caused by multiple punitive damages awards because they lack the power or the authority to prohibit subsequent awards in other courts ;and

WHEREAS, tort law should also permit subsequent claimants to overcome this limit and pursue additional punitive damages by showing new and substantial evidence of previously wrongful behavior on the part of the defendant; and

WHEREAS, such principles will guard defendants against repetitive punishment and, at the same time, preserve a way to augment punishment if the original punishment was based on inadequate information;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Legislative Exchange Council supports the principle of limiting the multiple imposition of punitive damages for harms arising out of a single act or course of conduct.

Adopted by the Civil Justice Task Force and approved by the ALEC Board of Directors between 1998 and 1999.