Punitive Damages and French Ordre Public

F.X. Licari’s article “The Difficulty to Enforce US Punitive Damages Award in France: A Critical Comment of the First Ruling of the French Court of Cassation (La Compatibilité de Principe des Punitive Damages Avec l’Ordre Public International: Une Décision en Trompe-L’oeil de la Cour de Cassation?)”, published in Recueil Dalloz, No. 6, p. 423-427, 2011, is now available at SSRN . The abstract reads:

“In an important decision issued on December 1st, 2010, the Cour de cassation held that an award of punitive damages is not, per se, contrary to public policy, adding however that this principle does not apply when the amount awarded is disproportionate with regard to the damage sustained and the debtor’s breach of his contractual obligations.

In this case, the foreign judgment was from California. The plaintiffs had been awarded $1.39 million USD in compensatory damages and $1.46 million USD in punitive damages. This was found to be clearly disproportionate because, as the  Court held, the amount of punitive damages was clearly higher than the amount of compensatory damages (a very large difference of $70,000 USD). It dismisses an appeal from a judgment from the Poitiers Court of appeal.”

F.X Licari is maître de conférences at the University of Metz.

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About Marta Requejo

Marta Requejo is a senior researcher fellow of the Max Planck Institute Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law. She obtained her law degree from the University of Santiago after spending a year at the University of Le Mans (France) as an Erasmus student; she holds a Doctorate (European Doctorate) from Santiago de Compostela University. Tenured lecturer since 2001, she qualified for access to senior professorship in September 2011. Her primary teaching and research interests are conflict of laws, international litigation, and international commercial law. She has been visitor for researching purposes at the Max Planck Institute on Foreign and Private International Law (Hamburg, Germany), the Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé (Lausanne, Switzerland), the Paris-Pantheon University and the BIICL; also visiting professor at the Paris-Panthéon University. So far she has published four monographs: "Ley local y forma de los actos en el Derecho internacional privado español", 418 pp; "Proceso en el extranjero y medidas antiproceso (antisuit injunctions)", 282 pp; "La cesión de créditos en el comercio internacional", 281 pp; "Violaciones graves de derechos humanos y responsabilidad civil", 369 pp. She is also author of several articles printed in collective works, and numerous papers in law journals, mainly Spanish ones, like the Revista Española de Derecho Internacional or Diario La Ley, but also in foreign magazins like The European Legal Forum or Era Forum. She belongs to the Group of research De Conflictu Legum.