I used to think that too. Then it was pointed out to me that if
the government is deriving revenue from punitives the government
has a strong financial motive to make it easier to obtain punitives.
Also, injunctive relief, IS pretty common, especially in class-action
In some cases criminal charges are dropped in exchange for an
agreement to not contest the forfeiture. The distinction between
this and granting a license to break the law is somewhat difficult
On 22 Feb 2005 12:56:42 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Which differers in no major way from the situation now where lawyers
benefit from the results of laws that are made by elected
representative who are mostly lawyers.
The point has some merit, but since the cost of arguing for a punitive
award would be borne by the plaintiff, but they wouldn't see any
direct benefit from it, I suspect the effect would be a net positive.
Oh come on now. It is the government that defines torts,
sets standards of evidence, establishes statutory damages
and so on. That is a heaping big difference from the attorneys
who may merely lobby for such things. Perhaps you missed the
How would it be a net positive to reduce suits for punitive damages?
Consider a suit for a lowΊlled insurance claim. Wyy would anyone
sue for punitives they won't get, and therefor why would any insurance
claim NOT lowball the claims and settle out-of court for a fair
amount ONLY with those who sue?
On 22 Feb 2005 16:32:26 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Something like 75% of our elected officials - the ones who make the
laws - are lawyers by education and/or trade.
Sometimes people do things for justice. And I wouldn't mind them being
allowed to collect a reasonable fee for their time, but this business
where the lawyer gets 60% of an award, then the client gets their 40%,
but all the expenses come out of theirs, is not the way to do it. I'm
not saying that there isn't a place for punitive awards, but I don't
believe that they should go to benefit someone just because they are
the one who filed the suit.
Restitution for loss is always valid and obviously should remain
unchanged. The subject of my comments was punitive damages, which are
unrelated to any real loss but are directly tied to the amount of cash
the defendant has.
I understand. but in cases such as we're speaking of here there is little or
no tangible loss, yet there is indeed significant loss. What we know of as
punitive damages are the only way to compensate for those losses. I agree
that punitive loss seems to be tied to the depth of the offender's pockets,
and to some degree that may even be appropriate since it could be argued
that a certain amount of that success was likely the result of years of the
same behavior that wound them up in court. I guess as I plow through this,
I find that I am a believer in punitive judgments. Not as out of hand as
they have gotten over the years, but certain as a matter of course. Then
again, we hear about the outrageous awards that juries issue, but we don't
hear as much about the reduced awards that the judges pass down.
Those are covered under what are called "non-tangible losses" or
sometimes "pain and suffering". Punitive damages are the third type of
award (Real loss, non-tangible loss, punitive damages). Non-tangible
losses include compensation for loss of companionship, damage to
reputation, mental stress, etc. Punitive losses have *nothing* to do
with the plaintiff. They exist as *punishment* for wrongdoing (and in
some circles are seen as an illegal exercise of the right of the state
to punish wrongdoers).
Let's suck up to the big nasty corporation, they have....
... especially when the big nasty corporation refuses to do
anything to help you *identify* the individual responsible (you
*did* see that in the HD article, didn't you ? Or were the pages
so drenched with your tears for poor HD that the lines were
washed out ? :-)
So the decision is yours: support HD's actions by paying the
higher prices resulting from its behaviors, or shop somewhere
(Where does the myth that HD's prices are lower come from ?
It's advertising ?)
A few "build another seven-figure income." Most don't. The
majority of the lawyers that I know make a small fraction of
You should ask HD that. If it took no action, you can assume that
there will be another suit like this one in the not-too-distant
future. And wouldn't that be the correct outcome ? Or do you feel
that HD is not responsible for what its employees do on the job?
Not only no, but hell no! Identity theft is a serious problem precisely
because companies do a pathetically inadequate job of checking before
granting credit and then ignore the injured parties for as long as they
In this case the store received a dozen credit applications from the
same person. That alone would have raised red flags in a reasonably run
business. Then even when the problem was brought to their attention,
they not only refused to do anything about it, they couldn't even be
bothered to show up in court!
This kind of behavior is utterly outrageous and well deserving of a
I think the point is that ONCE someone notifies a corporate entity
that attempted identity thieft is happening with credit apps to THEIR
store, that they should have 1 - Acknowledge the notification and 2-
Put that SS number on a black list and not accepted NOR tried to
process any apps with that SS number
No one is asking the corporate entity to do detective work, but they
SHOULD not ignore folks reporting this kind of stuff, apparently
repeatedly reporting it.
On 21 Feb 2005 08:44:56 -0800, "Never Enough Money"
I guess will just have to disagree. The responsibility is not Home
Depot's. I'm betting they did what virtually every comapny would do.
Just 'cause it's the computer age, it doesn't shift the responsibility.
It's more likely to be the credit beareau or credit agency that should
have handled this.
It's sickening the way people go after deep pockets.
Somewhat agree. If the person had a stolen ID and kept applying for a HD
card and HD was notified of the fraud, they have some hand in the matter,
but the credit bureau is not without some guilt in the mess from what I can
see. Sounds like neither did much to help the situation.
My wife had her SS# stolen a couple years back. The only way we found
out was when a collections bill arrived from a delinquent Cingular
Wireless account - owing $2200. We eventually got it straightened out
after 4 months of back and forth letter writing, phone calls and
affidavits - in addition to the fact that Cingular didn't provide
service to our home state at that time. Whew. Notified the credit
bureaus and they put a notice on her reports. (Little did we know those
notices expire after 3, 6 or whatever months and are removed.)
Eight months later another collections bill arrives for $1200 from a
delinquent account with... Cingular Wireless. I was livid. I wrote a
scathing letter to the person who was our contact the first go'round,
questioning how a company could be so inept and irresponsible as to
allow non-paying accounts to rack up $2200 and $1200 in charges as well
as opening a second account with the same SS# as proved to be fraudulent
within the past year? It took another several months to get it solved
yet again. (Note: send copies of everything to your state's attorney
general/consumer fraud dept as well as the US Govt's consumer fraud
Quite frankly, I don't think the companies really do care. They have
fraud and theft factored into their rates and costs. So 1 out of 100
credit or service applications prove to be fraud... to them it's just a
write-off on the balance sheet. To the citizen affected, it's a source
of anxiety and stress, costing much time and effort to get their name
cleared. Whether or not Cingular is responsible in anyway, they
certainly have no warm spot in our hearts. If they had headed this off
in the second instance I'd not have such animosity towards the company.
On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 22:36:59 -0800, Fly-by-Night CC wrote:
Any company can prevent a second account being opened with the same SS# by
not allowing a second account with the same SS#. A simple search of their
data base when a new account is opened is all that is required. The
software is available to do this. As implied, a lot of companies could
care less what happens to a persons credit rating. They feel it is up to
the person involved to straighten things out, not them. I feel that there
needs to be more companies lossing court cases before things will change.
Wow. All these responses spewing venim toward Home Depot and other
companies. The venim should be reserved for the thief that stole the
identity! Everybody wants payment for their losses and they want the
deepest pockets around to pay.
Secondly, some lage companies have databases. Others do not. So shall
we get mad at those that do have databases and don't use them as we
think fit and be kind to those that don't?
I detest this railing against "big companies." I recall a time before
Home Depot. Home Depot has made life better, not worse.
Granted, the companies could do a better job and will in the
future....when the software engineers are paid to write the checks into
the databaes and the companines can afford the "new features." However
to sue the pants off the companies in the hopes of beign a catylsy for
such changes is just wrong. In some cases, not necessarily the one
discussed in this thread, the individual who lost his identity should
get a kick in the butt because he/she was so stupid for being careless
with his/her identity.
To a point, I agree with your observation about the mentality towards big
companies here. Sometimes this place looks like most of the folks are an
angry lot who simply resent anything and anyone more successful than them.
All large companies today have "databases", though that is not really a
meaningful term. More properly, they all have some amount of deep knowldege
about their customer base.
These days your identity is so widely distributed that you no longer have
any control at all over it. You can be as diligent as possible to protect
your personal information and it won't matter one hoot. Everything there is
to know about you is available and for sale. Your health records, your
financial records, your internet habits, you name it. The safeguards that
surround information as sensitive as this are almost non-existent. They're
in place to protect against honest people, but there really is not much in
place to protect against the clever mind of the criminal, as evidenced by
the recent news.
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