Sanjit S. Shah


This Note will consider whether punitive damages can withstand a constitutional challenge brought under the Due Process Clause of the fourteenth amendment. Part II of the Note examines how courts have resolved procedural due process and traditional vagueness challenges to exemplary damage awards. This section also discusses Justice O'Connor's approach to the vagueness doctrine, and the possibility that substantive due process may affect jury discretion to award punitive damages. Part III discusses why punitive damages do not violate the Due Process Clause. This Note concludes that punitive damages are not unconstitutional on procedural due process, fundamental fairness, or traditional vagueness grounds. While stronger constitutional arguments against punitive damages lie in Justice O'Connor's vagueness approach and the substantive due process doctrine, this Note maintains that punitive damages meet both of these challenges.