Ledbetter: Court, Congress, and President

My colleague Paul Secunda recently wrote this pointed essay on the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision for the Workplace Fairness Blog.  Ledbetter made it harder for plaintiffs with Title VII pay discrimination claims to prevail by holding that the statute of limitations runs separately on each of a series of discriminatory pay decisions, even though the cumulative effects of the decisions may continue to be felt for many years thereafter.  Paul argues in his essay that Ledbetter is “absurd” inasmuch as it requires some victims of discrimination to file their claims before they have a fair opportunity to discern the discrimination.  He urges Congress to pass a pending legislative fix, the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Act, and notes that the issue is one that divides the current Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.

Continue ReadingLedbetter: Court, Congress, and President

Petition to Permit Citation of Unpublished Decisions of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals

This fall the Wisconsin Supreme Court will revisit the issue of whether to permit citation of unpublished Wisconsin Court of Appeals opinions. The issue is scheduled for hearing on October 14, 2008. The current rule forbids citation of unpublished opinions “as precedent or authority, except to support a claim of claim preclusion, issue preclusion, or the law of the case.” Wis. Stat. § 809.23(3). In January, the Wisconsin Judicial Council filed a petition asking the court to amend the rule to permit citation of unpublished opinions “for [their] persuasive value.”

Continue ReadingPetition to Permit Citation of Unpublished Decisions of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Retributive Damages in a World Without Trials

Kicking off a terrific speaker series at Marquette this semester, Dan Markel of Florida State and PrawfsBlawg fame is with us today to present his paper How Should Punitive Damages Work?. This is the second part of a multi-article series in which Dan is developing a comprehensive reform proposal for punitive damages law. Dan’s basic premise is that punitive damages should be reconceptualized around principles of retributive justice. To the extent that we want punitive damages to do other things (e.g., compensate victims for dignitary harms), Dan urges that we give those forms of damages different labels and treat them in a procedurally distinct manner from retributive damages. Notably, he would give retributive damages awards to the state, not private plaintiffs; plaintiffs would get merely a small finder’s fee ($10,000) and attorneys’ fees.

Continue ReadingRetributive Damages in a World Without Trials