There is a general agreement that the primary purpose of tort law is to compensate parties injured by the wrongful conduct of another. Typically, a prevailing plaintiff is awarded compensatory damages. The main purpose of tort law is to make the plaintiff whole, to the extent possible, in order to put the plaintiff in the same financial situation the plaintiff would have been in absent the defendant's actions. A prevailing plaintiff, however, will not normally be made whole by the award of a reasonable amount of compensatory damages. The primary reason for this insufficiency is that the plaintiff will have to pay her attorney out of the money received in the award.
A secondary purpose of tort law is to deter wrongful, potentially harmful conduct.' This purpose is especially pertinent to intentional conduct.' A party will be less willing to engage in intentional tortious conduct if he knows he will have to pay for the harm; therefore, to the extent that a defendant can engage in tortious conduct and not be held fully accountable financially, the maximum deterrent effect of the law is not being realized. ...
This Article advocates that states' statutes make greater and more systematic use of multiple damages by extending them to a much broader range of ir tentional, wrongful conduct. Part II of this Article will explain why extra-compensatory relief is called for when tortious conduct is intentional or malicious. Part III will compare punitive damages, attorney fees, and treble or other multiple damages as possible sources of additional relief. Part IV will focus on multiple damages. The Article will examine the range of existing state statutes and discuss why and how those statutes might be extended to a broader range of wrongful behavior.
Shapiro, Stephen J.
"Overcoming Under-Compensation and Under-Deterrence in Intentional Tort Cases: Are Statutory Multiple Damages the Best Remedy?,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 62
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol62/iss2/3