Republicans tax plan

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erianaiel
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by erianaiel » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:26 pm

AbyssalMage wrote:Who does deserve it? Really don't follow your logic. Victims obviously deserve it. Lawyers don't work for free. Missing the logic in your question.
I do not really want to get too involved in a pointless debate, but there are two parts to the damages.
First is the damage suffered by the victim. These are things like hospital costs, lost income, repairing damage, lawyer fees and so on. Nobody denies that if found guilty of neglicence or malice the company should pay (well, the company's defense lawyers do but that is their job).

Then there is the part where the jury says 'you have been a naughty company so we are going to fine you 5 trillion dollar'.
These are the punitive (as in punishing) damages. Currently in many (most? all?) states of the USA that also goes to whoever first succesfully sued a company. The problem here is that this actually is something that the -government- should be doing (the punishing companies for breaking laws that is) as it has nothing to do with the (financial) damage done to the victim(s) and instead is an attempt to make the company toe the line instead of writing off the cost of these settlements as the risk of doing business and continue cutting safety corners as they see fit.

The system may have worked once upon a time (though I doubt that. I think it never worked but at first nobody realised what a kind of money redistribution engine it really was), but it was never reasonable nor judicially sound.

First the fine part of the payment goes to the aggrieved party. It is the only example of criminal law where a fine intended to discourage from committing a crime and to punish those not deterred is levied by the victim and not the government.

Second, nowadays we are in a situation where companies are occasionally incredibly rich, meaning that any fine that is actually punishing must be millions or billions in size. This also encourages laywers to aggressively pursue claims as they only have to get it 'right' once to hit the financial jackpot.

Third it is allowed for lawyers to run a 'no cure, no pay' scheme which means that for people it is without risk to sue. Considering the potential payout there is no incentive to not turn treat these cases as a free lottery. Mind this is a tricky one as the alternatives can easily make it too easy for companies to get away with things because it is too expensive to persecute a company for its wrongdoings. Some kind of compromise would have to be found here.

Finally, the whole process is at the mercy of a jury who will find it very easy to make a nameless and (perceived) rich entity pay out randomly large amounts of money to a recognisable (and very much like themselves) victim. After all, it is not difficult to give somebody else's money away. This leads to record 'pay outs' that keep hanging in the public consciousness (and encourage a fresh flood of attempts to strike it rich through sueing for a real or imagined injury). Nobody ever talks about the subsequent trial(s) where the initial ridiculous fine was reduced to something a lot more in line with the damage actually suffered.

AbyssalMage
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by AbyssalMage » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:19 pm

Tudamorf wrote:
AbyssalMage wrote:Who does deserve it? Really don't follow your logic. Victims obviously deserve it. Lawyers don't work for free. Missing the logic in your question.
Punitive damages are damages which, by definition, are NOT designed to compensate the plaintiff for losses.

They are, by definition, damages which the plaintiff doesn't deserve.

So why should he get them?
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictiona ... 1301630142

punitive damages (noun pl)
Definition of PUNITIVE DAMAGES: damages awarded in excess of compensation to the plaintiff to punish a defendant for a serious wrong.
First Known Use of PUNITIVE DAMAGES
1865


So by (current) definition, they do deserve them.
AbyssalMage wrote:So people with an educational background can't get upset when they see sweat shops? They can't get upset when they see people die because Landlords don't take propper precautions?
You missed my point.

Most legislators are lawyers.

You have lawyers, making laws that say lawyers should be entitled to gigantic sums of money far beyond what they'd otherwise earn on a per hour basis.

You don't see a problem with that?
No, didn't miss your point. You missed mine...Why do you think all lawyers are "cold hearted bastards" who only look out after themselves and their collegues? Again the question was, "...(Lawyers, educated people, people, or, hell, even human beings) can't get upset when they see sweat shops? They can't get upset when they see people die because Landlords don't take propper precautions?"

And why can't they (Lawyers, educated people, people, or, hell, even human beings) create laws (Punitive Damage Laws) to, by definition (I even looked it up for you), punish people for serious wrong beyond physical harm compensation?

erianaiel
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by erianaiel » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:45 am

[quote="AbyssalMageAnd why can't they (Lawyers, educated people, people, or, hell, even human beings) create laws (Punitive Damage Laws) to, by definition (I even looked it up for you), punish people for serious wrong beyond physical harm compensation?[/quote]

Basically because they are civilians/citizens and it is not the place of citizens to punish others for wrongdoings. That is 'taking the law in your own hand' and something that is deeply frowned upon in all other jurisdictions (and even everywhere else in American criminal law. You can not e.g. 'punitive damage' somebody by beating him up).

Punitive damages laws obviously can, and have been, written. That does not automatically make it a good idea.


Eri

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Tudamorf
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by Tudamorf » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:43 pm

AbyssalMage wrote:Definition of PUNITIVE DAMAGES: damages awarded in excess of compensation to the plaintiff to punish a defendant for a serious wrong.
Exactly, they are damages IN EXCESS of compensation. They are NOT compensating the plaintiff, by their very definition. If they were compensating the plaintiff, they'd be compensatory damages, not punitive damages.

Which goes back to the question, why should you get money that, by definition, you don't deserve?

There is no good answer for that, which is why California and many other states have adopted laws forcing punitive damages to be redirected to the State instead of being given as a windfall to lawyers and random stupid people.
AbyssalMage wrote:You missed mine...Why do you think all lawyers are "cold hearted bastards" who only look out after themselves and their collegues?
Human nature.

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Tudamorf
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by Tudamorf » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:49 pm

erianaiel wrote:The system may have worked once upon a time (though I doubt that. I think it never worked but at first nobody realised what a kind of money redistribution engine it really was), but it was never reasonable nor judicially sound.
It never worked. It's a lawyer stimulus program, just as the "war on drugs" never worked and was always a prosecution/prison industry stimulus program.

Other developed countries handle this matter in the correct way, by putting people who maliciously harm others in prison.

Punishment should be a governmental function, not a private business.
erianaiel wrote:Finally, the whole process is at the mercy of a jury who will find it very easy to make a nameless and (perceived) rich entity pay out randomly large amounts of money to a recognisable (and very much like themselves) victim.
Keep in mind that an American jury consists of 12 people who have been pre-selected for their ignorance, stupidity, and susceptibility to suggestion.

The single fastest way of getting off a jury in the United States is to express an opinion of any kind.

AbyssalMage
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by AbyssalMage » Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:45 am

Tudamorf wrote:
AbyssalMage wrote:Definition of PUNITIVE DAMAGES: damages awarded in excess of compensation to the plaintiff to punish a defendant for a serious wrong.
Exactly, they are damages IN EXCESS of compensation. They are NOT compensating the plaintiff, by their very definition. If they were compensating the plaintiff, they'd be compensatory damages, not punitive damages.

Which goes back to the question, why should you get money that, by definition, you don't deserve?

There is no good answer for that, which is why California and many other states have adopted laws forcing punitive damages to be redirected to the State instead of being given as a windfall to lawyers and random stupid people.
Well then what should the other option be?
I know you don't like the idea of citizens taking the law into there own hands, but thats exactly where it should be IMHO. Prosecuters represent "the people" supposedly incase you forgot. So if a prosecuter can represent you? Why shouldn't you be able to represent yourself? You have a court of law to mediate/oversee the proceding. And I would love the option of throwing some of these A-hole buisness people in jail but civil court doesn't give you that option, so punitive damages beyong compesation is the only recourse left.

If you consider "random stupid people" people like the McDonalds lady, ya, they are stupid and we agree, they have no buisness getting the sum they were finally awarded after appeals. But if you consider "random stupid people" who have toxic waste dumped in their lakes and drinking water, then get sick and die from it (Trying to think of the case but can't off the top of my head) then, no, your the stupid person. We can both think of multiple instances where Punitive Damages were awarded to stupid people, but I can think of many where they were rightfully awarded to individuals for a serious wrong.
AbyssalMage wrote:You missed mine...Why do you think all lawyers are "cold hearted bastards" who only look out after themselves and their collegues?
Human nature.
Thats a "glass empty" perspective and I don't agree with it, but its how you feel.

AbyssalMage
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by AbyssalMage » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:01 am

Tudamorf wrote: There is no good answer for that, which is why California and many other states have adopted laws forcing punitive damages to be redirected to the State instead of being given as a windfall to lawyers and random stupid people.
That's no different than Texas (or many other states) who cap Punitive Damages to protect buisnesses and individuals so they can continue to exploit workers and clients :evil:

The fact that the state redirects your Punitive Damages in California (thought you said they reversed this/let it expire) is just priceless. The state lets you incurr some kind of gross mistreatment, doesn't prosecute the company/individual (most likely), lets you spend your money (You pay the lawyers if you win remember), time (court cases take months/years), and energy and then simply comes in and takes a share through taxes and then takes what ever remains because there are people like you who think they don't deserve it. PRICELESS!

AbyssalMage
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by AbyssalMage » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:52 am

Tudamorf wrote:It never worked. It's a lawyer stimulus program, just as the "war on drugs" never worked and was always a prosecution/prison industry stimulus program.
At least we agree that "The war on drugs" never worked. Completely different reason than you, but epic failure it is.
Tudamorf wrote:Other developed countries handle this matter in the correct way, by putting people who maliciously harm others in prison.
We at least agree that these people need to goto prison, but it isn't always easy to figure out who the person(s) are. I cite Enron as a great example of trying to prosecute a company for damages it caused to multiple people. Or how about Tobacco, Wallstreet, or the Pharmacutical companies? Their are civil lawsuits against two groups (Tobacco & Pharmacutical) but many of the people who made the decisions have passed away, no longer live in American jurisdiction, or have political clout to escape criminal prosecution.

Ok, but what about the money? You never solved that problem. Do you give it to the victims or do you think the state should get it? The state already failed by not protecting the individual. So, if you reward the money to the state you are encouraging them not to protect its citizens because they will get all the money in the end once the citizen's and lawyers do the work for them. Thats a nice risk v. reward scenerio for the State.
Tudamorf wrote:Punishment should be a governmental function, not a private business.
People have a right to seek compensation when their Government fails them, or lacks the political willpower to go after a huge company (Recent examples include Tobacco and Pharmasuticals). (I would include the gun industry but they succesfully lobied the US Congress to protect them.) And I know a few have tried to go after Wallstreet (although I don't think they have been succesful).
Tudamorf wrote:
erianaiel wrote:Finally, the whole process is at the mercy of a jury who will find it very easy to make a nameless and (perceived) rich entity pay out randomly large amounts of money to a recognisable (and very much like themselves) victim.
Keep in mind that an American jury consists of 12 people who have been pre-selected for their ignorance, stupidity, and susceptibility to suggestion.

The single fastest way of getting off a jury in the United States is to express an opinion of any kind.
:twisted: Expressing an opinion is fun though, because you know if you got picked, there was quite of few people the defense (or prosecution, depending on the opinion you expressed) liked even less. :o

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Tudamorf
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by Tudamorf » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:28 pm

AbyssalMage wrote:I know you don't like the idea of citizens taking the law into there own hands, but thats exactly where it should be IMHO.
What? You don't like it, but you think that's how it should be?

Financial vigilantism is just as bad as physical vigilantism.
AbyssalMage wrote:And I would love the option of throwing some of these A-hole buisness people in jail but civil court doesn't give you that option, so punitive damages beyong compesation is the only recourse left.
Of course you have that option.

For virtually every case where someone acted with malice (the prerequisite for a punitive damages award), there is a corresponding criminal law under which that person can be incarcerated and/or fined. And on top of that, many business are governed by administrative agencies which have the power to assess fines and/or shut down the business.

We use these options all the time.

If we took all the money lawyers leeched from our GDP and put it towards governmental enforcement of business regulations, we'd be far better off.

AbyssalMage
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Re: Republicans tax plan

Post by AbyssalMage » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:56 am

Tudamorf wrote:
AbyssalMage wrote:I know you don't like the idea of citizens taking the law into there own hands, but thats exactly where it should be IMHO.
What? You don't like it, but you think that's how it should be?

Financial vigilantism is just as bad as physical vigilantism.
Did you mean?
"What, You like it, but you think that's how its should be?"
-Answer to that question, Yes :D

I would prefer Physical Vigilantism actually, but again, the law doesn't allow that for normal citizens. The DA or ADA is the only person I am aware of that can prosecute those kind of cases. Having someone serve community service or jail time (extremely dependent on what they did) would serve justice a whole lot more than any monetary reward.
AbyssalMage wrote:And I would love the option of throwing some of these A-hole buisness people in jail but civil court doesn't give you that option, so punitive damages beyong compesation is the only recourse left.
Of course you have that option.

For virtually every case where someone acted with malice (the prerequisite for a punitive damages award), there is a corresponding criminal law under which that person can be incarcerated and/or fined. And on top of that, many business are governed by administrative agencies which have the power to assess fines and/or shut down the business.

We use these options all the time.

If we took all the money lawyers leeched from our GDP and put it towards governmental enforcement of business regulations, we'd be far better off.
Yes, but they lack the financial and/or political willpower to go after these buisnesses.

The one that is making the news ATM, is the class action lawsuite against Walmart and sex discrimination. Im not sure if they are seeking Punitive Damages (I assume they are), but this is a case going through Federal Court because of the money ($$$) involved not because anyone will be going to jail (at least not yet). My guess is, if Walmart loses (or at least doesn't settle soon) they will be facing criminal prosecution next. This is a prime example of no political willpower at the state level. And don't get me wrong, I know Walmart isn't alone on sex discrimination, I just think people hate them more than every other company who practices it. But other companies will be next if the lawyers are succesful against Walmart (Which I think they will be).

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