Civil lawsuits

In civil lawsuits, punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer and act as a warning to others not to engage in similar conduct. For example, an individual might suffer $10,000 in compensatory damages because of lost wages, but the jury could award $1 million to punish the defendant over and above compensatory damages. The Eighth Amendment prohibits punishment by excessive fines in criminal cases, but not in civil cases involving punitive damages. Therefore, the $1 million judgment in the civil suit would, if imposed as a fine by a judge or jury in a criminal court, likely violate the Eighth Amendment. Critique the eight Amendment. Do you think the distinction in fines in civil and criminal suits is a relevant one? Why should punishment by the government be considered different than punishment by an individual?

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