The Opinion Pages | LETTERS

How Damage Caps Harm Public Safety and Justice
JAN 6, 2015

To the Editor:

Re “Falling Through the Legal Cracks” (Business Day, Dec. 30):

The failure of General Motors to take appropriate actions when it learned that a defective ignition switch in vehicles it sold caused the injuries and deaths of innocent people speaks volumes about corporate morality and accountability. That is why plaintiffs must be able to sue without caps.

The history of corporations’ failure to protect the public is replete with such stories, from flammable pajamas to the lack of safety guards on dangerous machinery. Without the threat of recovery from lawsuits brought by plaintiffs and the potential for punitive damages, corporations have shown that they will not do what is morally required, but merely weigh the costs against the risks and take steps to discourage those who have suffered personal injuries and/or deaths of loved ones from suing.

So-called tort reform and capping compensatory and/or punitive damages are wrongheaded and cause additional suffering for the innocent who become victims of a known dangerous product.

WALTER G. ALTON Jr.
New York, Dec. 30, 2014

The writer is a plaintiffs’ attorney.