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December 5, 2007

Bush Justice Dept. Favors Huge Jury Awards - On One Condition

-- by Dave Johnson

The Bush Justice Department has filed a brief in favor of massive damages awards - as long as the huge awards flow from single mothers to large corporations. The brief was filed in a case where a woman was found to have downloaded 25 songs with an economic value of $175, and the record companies were awarded damages of $222,000.

This is in marked contrast to the usual conservative talk of "out-of-control" "costs" of jury awards, a "tort tax," "greedy trial lawyers," "Jackpot Justice," etc. We now learn that what they really mean is that regular people should not be able to sue for justice when harmed by big corporations - but not the other way around.

From DoJ says $222,000 damages in Capitol v. Thomas trial not unconstitutional

:"Statutory damages compensate those wronged in areas in which actual damages are hard to quantify in addition to providing deterrence to those inclined to commit a public wrong," argues the DoJ.
[. . .] "[G]iven the findings of copyright infringement in this case, the damages awarded under the Copyright Act’s statutory damages provision did not violate the Due Process Clause; they were not 'so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense or obviously unreasonable,'" concludes the DoJ.

Posted by Dave Johnson at December 5, 2007 11:28 AM

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