Philip Morris USA v. Williams - 05-1256 (2007)



549 U. S. ____ (2007)
549 U. S. ____ (2007)
549 U. S. ____ (2007)
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
NO. 05-1256

PHILIP MORRIS USA, PETITIONER v. MAYOLA WILLIAMS, personal representative of the ESTATE OF JESSE D. WILLIAMS, DECEASED

on writ of certiorari to the supreme court of oregon

[February 20, 2007]

   Justice Thomas, dissenting.

   I join Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in full. I write separately to reiterate my view that “ ‘the Constitution does not constrain the size of punitive damages awards.’ ” State Farm Mut. Automobile Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U. S. 408, 429–430 (2003) (Thomas, J., dissenting) (quoting Cooper Industries, Inc. v. Leatherman Tool Group, Inc., 532 U. S. 424, 443 (2001) (Thomas, J., concurring)). It matters not that the Court styles today’s holding as “procedural” because the “procedural” rule is simply a confusing implementation of the substantive due process regime this Court has created for punitive damages. See Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Haslip, 499 U. S. 1, 26–27 (1991) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment) (“In 1868 … punitive damages were undoubtedly an established part of the American common law of torts. It is … clear that no particular procedures were deemed necessary to circumscribe a jury’s discretion regarding the award of such damages, or their amount”). Today’s opinion proves once again that this Court’s punitive damages jurisprudence is “insusceptible of principled application.” BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U. S. 559, 599 (1996) (Scalia, J., joined by Thomas, J., dissenting).



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