My op-ed on the subject appears in today’s Wall Street Journal. (Walter Olson, “More Punitives to the People!”, Jun. 2)($$). The California governor’s proposal to have the state take 75 percent of punitive awards has gotten a more favorable reception from the left/liberal side of the blogosphere than some might have expected; see Nathan Newman (calling it “the right idea”)(May 17), Atrios (“not a bad idea”) May 17, plaintiff’s attorney Dwight Meredith (more)(“I have no major objection to having a portion of punitive damages go to the state.”)(May 26)(and see Jun. 1 on the governor’s fanciful revenue scoring), and Kevin Drum (“probably a good idea”) May 29.
See also Adam Liptak, “Schwarzenegger Sees Money for State in Punitive Damages”, New York Times, May 30. More editorial and commentary links: Dan Walters, “Arnold enters battle over tort reform”, Sacramento Bee/Alameda Times-Star, May 29; “Sensible concept, suspicious numbers” (editorial), San Jose Mercury News, May 25 (reg); Phil Yost, “Governor’s budget counts on windfall that won’t arrive”, San Jose Mercury News, May 30 (reg); “A lawyer joke” (editorial), San Francisco Chronicle, May 27; George Skelton, “Proposal to Tap Punitive Damage Awards Has Many Agendas”, Los Angeles Times, May 24; “State profit in punishment” (editorial), Los Angeles Times, May 24. Further: Martin Grace has some more information about collections under the Georgia “split-award” statute (Jun. 2), and Paul Caron at TaxProfBlog discussed the proposal May 20.