SO SUE ME: Tort Reform

Thursday, November 16, 2000

Does our system of tort law need to be reformed or would reforms restrict a fundamental right to legal redress? Are trial lawyers taking advantage of the system, to the detriment of both citizens that have been harmed and the companies that are sued? Are limits on punitive damage awards and restrictions on class-action lawsuits good ideas or not?

Recorded on Thursday, November 16, 2000

Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I'm Peter Robinson. Our show today, Tort Reform. What is a tort? Tort, "a civil wrong resulting in a harm or injury which becomes the basis for a claim or lawsuit by the injured party." Let me give you an example of an uncontroversial tort. I'm driving a car. I get rear-ended and injured. I sue the party of the car who rear-ended me, the party who is clearly responsible for my injury.

Now let me give you an example of a controversial tort. The same accident but this time, instead of suing the party who rear-ended me, I sue the manufacturer of my own car claiming that it should somehow have provided me with better safety equipment. The Tort Reform Movement doesn't like tort claims like that. The Tort Reform Movement also isn't particularly fond of class action tort claims. This is when an entire group or class of people gets together to file a claim as when smokers, despite warning labels on cigarette boxes, got together to sue the tobacco companies. The question on our show today, does our system of torts really need to be reformed?

With us, three guests, Deborah Hensler is a Professor of Law at Stanford. Thomas Brandi is an Attorney and President of Consumer Affairs of California and Joseph Escher is a Defense Attorney whose clients include tobacco companies.

Title: So Sue Me

Peter Robinson: Three days after taking office as Governor of Texas in 1995, George W. Bush proclaimed an emergency, demanding the legislature's immediate attention. Tort Reform. By the close of the legislative ses--session the following June, Bush had signed seven bills reforming Texas tort laws. Bush claims the legislation helped to curb, this is his phrase, junk lawsuits. But David Bragg who used to work in the Texas Attorney General's Office claims instead that the tort reforms have made a mess of Texas law making it much too hard to establish liability against manufacturers and others. I quote now David Bragg. "Under the law as it now stands, you could more easily prove negligent homicide." Bush, tort reform good. Bragg, tort reform bad. Who's right?

Thomas J. Brandi: Bush is not right. Bragg is.

Peter Robinson: Bragg is right, Deborah?

Deborah R. Hensler: No one knows.

Peter Robinson: No one knows. Well we know--is this a question of time, seeing it--watching it play out?

Deborah R. Hensler: No, it's a question of actually wanting to know the answer to it and committing to collecting the evidence that you could put before people and let them decide for themselves.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: To decide it would require resources, studies, evidence and nobody's doing that?

Deborah R. Hensler: That's right.

Peter Robinson: Joe?

H. Joseph Escher III: Bush is definitely right.

Peter Robinson: How nice. Two extremes and Debra in the middle. We--we're--you were seated perfectly for this. Okay now some basics. Tom, what is a tort?

Thomas J. Brandi: Lay language, it's a civil wrong. It could be an accident, it could be a defective product, it could be a business stealing someone else's idea.

Peter Robinson: How do tort claims differ from criminal claims?

Thomas J. Brandi: Tort--tort cases are brought in a civil court. You have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that--that someone did this wrong to you. Criminal case, you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal case is unanimous verdict. Civil case is majority nine out of twelve.

Peter Robinson: Okay. So those two distinctions are very important right there. In a criminal case, you have very high burden of proof…

Thomas J. Brandi: Extremely high burden of proof.

Peter Robinson: …beyond a reasonable doubt.

Thomas J. Brandi: Yes.

Peter Robinson: And the jury has to be unanimous.

Thomas J. Brandi: Yes.

Peter Robinson: But in a tort case, it's just a preponderance of the evidence…

Thomas J. Brandi: And nine out of twelve.

Peter Robinson: …and nine out of twelve. Joe, what's the difference between the compensatory and punitive damages?

H. Joseph Escher III: Compensatory damages is the amount of money designed to put an aggrieved individual back in the position that they would have been in without the tort, without the civil wrong. Punitive damages is--is an amount of money that's given to that person in order to punish or deter the individual or company that committed the civil wrong.

Peter Robinson: Okay, so I slip on a banana peel in a grocery story and sue under--and file a tort claim. That would be a tort correct?

Thomas J. Brandi: That would be compensatory damages. There would be no chance whatsoever for punitive damages in a case like that.

Peter Robinson: How come?

Thomas J. Brandi: Because there's no--probably no egregious conduct. Punitive damages are designed to look at that rare instance where there's malicious, where there's intentional or when there's a reckless disregard, a wanton misconduct for the rights of others.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Because my note--of course, I inform myself, I studied up as any law student would even a bad one like me, for this show. And what I discovered is at least a claim that beginning in the 1960's punitive damages which were traditionally awarded only in the case of malice or intentional wrong-doing began to be awarded on a weaker standard of disregard or negligence. Is that generally true?

H. Joseph Escher III: That's generally true but not completely. It--you can get punitive damages in a context where there's been a conscious disregard of somebody's safety but you really can't get punitive damages in a context where there's only been a showing of negligence.

Peter Robinson: Okay, last question…

Peter Robinson: Onto one of the most controversial types of tort cases, the class action lawsuit.

Title: Slights, Camera, Class Action

Peter Robinson: Beginning in the 1960's, more mass or class action tort claims began to be filed. What is a class action?

H. Joseph Escher III: A class action is a situation in which a large group of individuals that have a claim in common are represented by a few individuals. So, for example, you could have one or two individuals bring an action on behalf of, for example, everyone who's been exposed to asbestos in the United States and suffered an injury. So you could have those individual class representatives representing a group of thousands…

Peter Robinson: Thousands of people.

H. Joseph Escher III: …tens of thousands, millions of people.

Peter Robinson: Okay now Deb--go ahead.

Thomas J. Brandi: Excuse me…

Peter Robinson: Sure.

Thomas J. Brandi: Common questions of law or fact where the administrative justice is served by putting it all together at once. But in the case of--of a personal injury whether it's asbestos or Dalcon Shield or Phen-Fen, if you will, the people--the individual claimant has to have their individual case determined individually and not as part of a class.

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Deborah R. Hensler: Actually most class actions today, if you look at what we know about the distribution of cases, are brought in situations where consumers, either in a securities context or in the context of some other financial transaction, are bringing claims for some financial harm. And, in the latter situation, the claims, the individual claims are usually very small and quite similar. So they satisfy the criteria for there being common issues of law and fact.

Peter Robinson: So, as a matter of practice, the action these days is in securities litigation?

Deborah R. Hensler: Securities litigation and consumer class action suits over relatively small, individual losses. For example…

Peter Robinson: Which have an aggregated…

[Talking at same time]

Deborah R. Hensler: …which claim that ATM fees are being imposed wrongfully or that the charges are excessive. You and I might have paid those fees…

Peter Robinson: Or when I get an envelope which happened a few months ago, in the mail with certificates for a certain airline for twenty-five dollars off this or that ticket if I fly on cert--and it turned out that I was part of a class action I wasn't even aware of. But the wrong that I suffered of which I was completely unaware was wro--small, just twenty-five bucks here and there. That's a typical kind of class action.

[Talking at same time]

Thomas J. Brandi: The wrong that you suffered was too small for you to bring an action. It would be too small for individuals to bring an action but that there's a benefit to the class bringing the action because it not only stops that conduct, it protects legitimate businesses who follow the rules and it sends a message to other companies, follow the rules or you're going to be subject to this kind of action.

Peter Robinson: Don't--don't--don't engage in nickel and dime gouging of your consumers…

Thomas J. Brandi: Correct.

Peter Robinson: …because there will be lawyers who will put the consumers together and come after you.

Thomas J. Brandi: And courts that will approve those settlements.

H. Joseph Escher III: You should know that there are class actions that don't fall within those pretty rigid limitations that have been described. There are class actions that involve, you know, millions of people or hundreds of thousands of people where people do have substantial claims. And the reason that that--that can come about is because of a dynamic that the plaintiff is represented by an attorney and the attorney is highly motivated to settle those cases because the plaintiff's attorneys can make millions, tens of millions of dollars in those cases.

Peter Robinson: All right. Now we're moving into…

Peter Robinson: Let's get to the heart of the matter. Why is tort reform, whether we support it or oppose it, an important issue?

Title: These Are Trying Times

Peter Robinson: Here are a couple examples I found on the web last night. 1999, family is driving a car, the car is hit by a drunk driver, flames, they're burned. They sue, not the drunk driver, General Motors which manufactured the car and in Los Angeles, a jury tells General Motors to pay the family 4.9 billion with a "b", billion dollars. Cigarette packs, this is one that's in the news a lot, carried health warnings for years. It might be a reasonable supposition that people who smoke cigarettes know they're getting themselves in trouble or would do so at their own risk. Nevertheless, we have class action lawsuits, which are now forcing the tobacco companies to pay cigarette smokers, again, billions of dollars also to pay various arms of the government billions of dollars. Now it is easy enough for little me with my small legal mind to see why General Motors should care about this thing, why big tobacco companies should care about this kind of thing, why the shareholders of those companies should. But the entire public? A matter of Tort Reform rising to the level of public policy? If the administration of tort law in this country is going awry, what dangers would it pose to ordinary Americans?

Deborah R. Hensler: The issue is one for--for the citizen weighing the costs and benefits of the system. The benefit side of the equation is that our system of civil laws gives individuals a right, as private citizens, to come into court and make certain kinds of claims.

Peter Robinson: Even against big guys?

Deborah R. Hensler: Even against big guys. And they--and therefore makes them not totally dependent on others in the system like the State Attorneys General and Regulators to enforce the law. The concerns on the cost side are that the suits are very costly and that costs that are levied on manufacturers do ultimately get passed on to consumers. Secondly, that there are other actors in the system, elected State's Attorney Generals, Regulators, who arguably are supposed to be enforcing the laws.

Thomas J. Brandi: Can I just make one comment?

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Thomas J. Brandi: First of all, two examples that you use are excellent because GM and tobacco are two leaders of Tort Reform. They don't want to be held accountable in a courtroom, number one. The GM case was not a class. It was a single case.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Thomas J. Brandi: And in the facts of the GM case, the family was coming from midnight mass, they--yes they were hit by a drunk at fifty. GM knew from their own testing that the gas tank was located in a way that it was going to explode at fifty, whether a drunk hits them or…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: At sixty miles an hour, you…

Thomas J. Brandi: Yes.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Thomas J. Brandi: …and they knew--they had internal testing that showed for about two bucks they could have done a retrofit to prevent that from happening up to seventy miles an hour and they--they balanced the cost of their lawsuits and the people that were going to be killed and injured versus the cost of their recall and said, it will cost us more to recall. We're not going to do it. And that jury was outraged by GM's misconduct and awarded punitive damages. The judge cut that verdict from four billion to one and that is currently on appeal. The tobacco case, both singular and class action, the evidence in the tobacco cases are really strong to establish that the tobacco companies knew for years and years and years of the addictive properties. And that they marketed it to teenagers and pre-teens to get them addicted. The class actions in the tobacco…

Peter Robinson: Get ready.

Thomas J. Brandi: …made--made it possible that people could take on tobacco and now we have individual suits. And finally, people are forced to go to court in the civil sense because the court regula--regulators, the political process, doesn't regulate. Doesn't regulate tobacco's mis--misconduct or GM's misconduct. The jury trial is the last refuge that ordinary consumers have to hold corporate criminals, if you will, accountable.

Peter Robinson: Joe?

H. Joseph Escher III: The ordinary consumer hardly ever gets into court. What we're talking about is a system that is enormously wasteful and enormously arbitrary and capricious. The notion that an individual family should get a billion or four billion dollars from General…

Peter Robinson: 4.9 is what the jury wanted.

H. Joseph Escher III: …4.9, it's--it's--it's--it's wholly irrational that say--that's a number that's really even hard to imagine. That is so much money. That doesn't make sense as a way…

Peter Robinson: Did their lawyers take that on contingency, do we know?

H. Joseph Escher III: Of--of course they did.

Peter Robinson: So they would have gotten a third. So the lawyers now stand to make three hundred and thirty million dollars on the case.

H. Joseph Escher III: Right.

Thomas J. Brandi: The lawyers, number one, haven't been paid a dime because the case is on appeal and so...

Peter Robinson: No but you get impatient if there's the promise of three hundred and thirty million dollars at the end of the day.

Thomas J. Brandi: But is there? If you look at punitive damage, you will see that they're rarely given and more often not, they're overturned.

Peter Robinson: Okay, beautifully said…

Peter Robinson: Let's look at a few ways of reforming punitive damages.

Title: Damaged If You Do, Damaged If You Don't

Peter Robinson: Reforming punitive damages. Now it turns out this gets a little bit complicated. One op--one option is to put a cap on punitive damages. This is established mostly by state law. Alaska and North Carolina limit punitive damages to three times the compensatory damages or two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, whichever is greater. It's a lot lower than 4.9 billion. You'd be in favor of that?

H. Joseph Escher III: I would be in favor of limited to some sort of multiplier of the amount of compensatory damages. I'm not sure that I would agree that two hundred and fifty thousand dollars should be the cap in every case.

Peter Robinson: You'd be opposed to it in principle?

Thomas J. Brandi: Absolutely. If a company knows the most they can get hit is two hundred and fifty thousand or three times the economic loss, there's no deterrent whatsoever. And that sets up a second thing…

Peter Robinson: But compensatory damages can be huge though if it--if it's--like one of the--the tobacco cases or…

[Talking at same time]

Thomas J. Brandi: If you look at a case of insurance bad faith, where an insurance company engages in a practice or policy of deceit to someone and maybe they're--they lose their home, their economic loss depending upon what the value of that home, if they're a poor person, it might be less than a hundred thousand dollars. So the most you could get is three hundred thousand dollars under your scenario.

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Thomas J. Brandi: And that's wrong.

Peter Robinson: All right so one reform of punitive damages would be to put on a cap. Another however, would be to require an actual showing of malice, to firm up the traditional standard so that you don't get punitive damages in cases of disregard or negligence but you require actual malice, intentional wrong-doing, before punitive damages could be awarded. You go for that?

H. Joseph Escher III: Yes I'd go for it. In fact, California has passed a statute that pretty much does that except in the context of product liability actions where this conscious disregard standard is still in place but I think it's a perfectly rational rule and I think it should be shown by some heightened standard.

Peter Robinson: Rational. Now rationality would appeal to you. What do you--what do you think?

[Talking at same time]

Deborah R. Hensler: I'm going to be--disappoint you again…

Peter Robinson: The very root of the word is punishment, right, so you should only punish for actual wrong-doing, intentional wrong-doing.

Deborah R. Hensler: I think the--the issue about whether you should limit punitive damages is, I think, a political issue and you've heard both sides of it. The issue, if you're going to limit punitive damages, as to how you're going to limit punitive damages has an empirical component because the question is, if you pass a law and you change the standard, what difference is it going to make? Okay. So what evidence do we have that juries either are holding defendants to too low a standard or applying too high a standard. We don't have that evidence so we don't have a clue what difference the standard makes.

Thomas J. Brandi: I think the California standard's appropriate because sometimes nobody's going to stand up and said yeah, I did it! I intended that these people be hurt but the conduct speaks very loudly and eloquently.

Peter Robinson: To clear up one point. We have fifty states and the standards are different in all fifty states. What is--what scope is there for establishing federal rules that the states might then follow? Or--or is that simply not the way to go about reforming tort law?

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: You just have to do it state by state by state?

H. Joseph Escher III: I think it's pretty tough. I mean, there have been a number of cases in front of the United States Supreme Court trying to deal with this issue on a constitutional level. And though I think it's an appropriate endeavor, it hasn't really proved to be really anymore adequate than the political solution. So I--I--I think it would be great to have a Federal Tort Reform Act but I don't know that the support is there to make that happen.

Peter Robinson: Okay. Well I'm trying to help Deborah because a smaller, poorer state, Alabama, Mississippi, so forth, are going--is going to have a harder time pulling together the resources to conduct the kind of study that you'd like, right?

Deborah R. Hensler: Actually Alabama has very good data on punitive damage awards. This isn't hard to do. This isn't rocket science. This is the sort of thing that business people all over America do all the time. How many widgets are we selling? Do we sell more widgets if they're pink or they're blue? Okay. When we're talking about crafting rules to achieve public policy purposes, we were--ought to be real clear about what our public policy purposes are and we ought to be willing to engage in some hard research on determining what rule is going to have what effect. And that's a…

Peter Robinson: Are trial lawyers taking advantage of the system as it currently stands?

Title: Odor in the Court

Peter Robinson: You have a diffuse general public interest in making sure that the system is not so severe, does not--does not make it so easy to bring suit and win large awards that it actually encumbers companies that might otherwise employ people, provide jobs, economic uplift in an area but that's a diffuse and a general public interest as opposed to an extremely specific interest on the part of lawyers such as Tom here who make their living pursuing such cases. And therefore, there's just a--an inbuilt political imbalance.

Deborah R. Hensler: And I just really think that's…

Peter Robinson: So it's likely that the Tort Reform thing is going to get out of whack in their favor over time?

Deborah R. Hensler: First of all, the problem in the system is not that there are too many cases in the system. Not withstanding the notion that we live in a very litigious society, in fact, if you look at the data and I'm not saying we--we need studies. There are good data. What the data tell us is Americans are not very litigious. Most Americans don't sue when they're injured even though everybody seems to believe that that's what happens. Most Americans who do sue do not end up going to a jury verdict. Most juries do not give punitive damage verdicts in cases of product liability. So that's…

Peter Robinson: So what's the problem?

Deborah R. Hensler: …not the issue.

H. Joseph Escher III: The problem is most of the time we are normal. The problem is a lot of the time we're abnormal. No other society tolerates this kind of capricious and irrational system.

Peter Robinson: Reform number two is limiting class actions. Would you like to limit class actions?

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: How would you like to do that? How would you like to go about doing that?

H. Joseph Escher III: I--I--I'd like to do it by making uniform rules so that the--there would be one rule, not just for federal courts but also for state courts, so that states couldn't come up with completely different rules for class actions. And I would have very rigid requirements that--that common questions truly predominate and that if you're in a situation when you don't even know who's going to be in the class, that you can't certify the class. The risk of a class being certified is the single greatest reason that those cases settle. That's the reason.

Thomas J. Brandi: Joe's here to defend the people that get sued who--who perpetuate misconduct. Of course, he wants rigid rules. They don't want to be held accountable.

Peter Robinson: You don't think the class action, even though I end up getting a--travel vouchers in the mail a few months ago for a class action suit to which I was a party without even knowing it…

Thomas J. Brandi: I think the Tenth Amendment says the states can decide what rules the states are going to have for class action and we shouldn't federalize this process.

Peter Robinson: Class action rules are fine as they are?

Thomas J. Brandi: I think they are. Torts are less than ten percent of the litigation in this country. The biggest source of litigation is still business suing business. There's no cry here from Pennzoil or Exxon that says we don't want to be able to obtain punitive damages. They don't want to be held accountable by people…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: There you have big corporations suing big corporations…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: …it's less--it's less--it's less capricious though. They know what they're getting into. Contract law's clearer.

Deborah R. Hensler: Why is it less capricious?

Peter Robinson: Because you could have a--any--nobody on the face of the earth would have predicted a 4.9 billion dollar award for General Motors. Right?

Thomas J. Brandi: Peter, right here in Silicon Valley a company…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: …just falls out of the sky. That's capricious.

Deborah R. Hensler: No. That's why the…

Thomas J. Brandi: Absolutely not.

Deborah R. Hensler: …the--the attorney brought that case thinking that there was a potential to get a very large award. Those--there are people making these judgments about what the jurors are likely to do…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: You explain why it's capricious then.

H. Joseph Escher III: Because there's a big difference between a very large award and 4.9 billion dollars.

Deborah R. Hensler: Capricious makes it sound like, you know, the jury's sitting there and going like that. In fact, the jury in the case you indicated, the description of the case in Los Angeles claimed that they knew what they were doing, they gave an explanation. I'm not sure we should call that capricious.

Peter Robinson: Unpredictable?

Deborah R. Hensler: Unpredictable. Why should we care about unpredictability? The reason the general public should care about unpredictability is that if the system is perceived by these potential wrong-doers, that Tom's worried about, to be unpredictable then the decision-makers in those companies will stop paying attention to the liability system. Essentially they say, this system is so crazy. Okay. Whatever we do, we might get hit by punitive damages, we might not get hit by punitive damages.

Peter Robinson: Therefore there's no…

[Talking at same time]

Deborah R. Hensler: Therefore we should just ignore that and we'll let our lawyers worry about it.

Peter Robinson: Last round and you get to go first…

Peter Robinson: I've presented a few possible tort reforms but now let's see how our guests would reform the system.

Title: Torts No Piece of Cake

Peter Robinson: If you could make one reform to the system, what one reform would you make, Debra?

Deborah R. Hensler: One reform…

Peter Robinson: Okay, you're too slow for television. We'll come back to you. Joe?

H. Joseph Escher III: I'd federalize class actions and I'd make sure that federal…

Peter Robinson: By federalize, you mean--you mean make federal law…

H. Joseph Escher III: I--I--I think that what we should do is have a system in which it is easy to get a diversity case that's a class action into federal court where we have a more rational and developed system of law and a system which is less sensitive to local, political concerns.

Peter Robinson: Keep thinking Debra. Your moment will turn--what one--what one reform would you make?

Thomas J. Brandi: Joe just took a hell of a shot at local government and at state government by saying they're less rational than the federal. I think the system works. That's fine. Is it perfect? No. America is not perfect. The law is a reflection of us as a society and we started out with this system that said, Peter you and I have a dispute. We can't solve it. We get our neighbors to solve it. That's what the jury evolved out of. I'm comfortable…

Peter Robinson: Good.

Thomas J. Brandi: I'm comfortable and confident with the jury system. I put my trust in the jury system. Every time I go to court, I believe in the jury system.

Peter Robinson: No reform, you're--you're now giving us a Matlock moment when I--the America, the flag, we now hear the national anthem in the background. Would you make any reforms…

Thomas J. Brandi: Well what's wrong with it?

Peter Robinson: Nothing. Wh--wh--what--nothing wrong with Matlock moments but would you make any reforms at all.

Thomas J. Brandi: No I think the--I think the system…

Peter Robinson: Like it as it is.

Thomas J. Brandi: …works fine.

Peter Robinson: Debra, you now--now we come to you.

Deborah R. Hensler: Now and I have to only make one change…

Peter Robinson: Yes, I'm afraid so because it's television.

Deborah R. Hensler: …because it's really hard for a law professor to only make one change. I would look to the system and consider whether there are claims in the system which would better be served by an administrative system and I think there are. And I would consider taking those cases that…

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Explain what you mean by administrative system.

Deborah R. Hensler: We--earlier…

Peter Robinson: No jury, right?

Deborah R. Hensler: A--take--take a classic claims like the asbestos claims…

Peter Robinson: Right.

Deborah R. Hensler: …okay of which there are now more than four hundred thousand that have been brought into the system…

Peter Robinson: People claiming…

Deborah R. Hensler: …cases…

Peter Robinson: …lung cancer, so on, from…

Deborah R. Hensler: …cases where the court system in the early days of the litigation one can argue served the people well. It established that the manufacturers of the product should be held liable. It was able to get people compensation, who were getting no compensation at all for their injuries. But now we have large numbers of these claims being pushed through the system, very high transaction costs, none of the benefits with regard to deterrents because we've gotten all the deterrents we can get out of the system but we continue to send those cases through this very expansive system.

Peter Robinson: Nobody makes asbestos anymore in the way that it used to be made, the companies are virtually bankrupt. It's all done…

Deborah R. Hensler: One ought to cons…

Peter Robinson: …the benefits to society…

Deborah R. Hensler: One ought to consider whether you could design an administrative compensation system for claims like that that would better serve those plaintiffs.

Peter Robinson: Tom, Debra and Joe, thank you very much.

H. Joseph Escher III: Thank you.

Peter Robinson: Joe is an attorney who defends companies against tort claims. He thinks the tort system does indeed need to be reformed. Tom is an attorney who sues companies on behalf of consumers filing tort claims. He thinks the tort system is just fine. And Debra, a professor, thinks we need more research. At least those positions are a lot more predictable than a punitive damages award. I'm Peter Robinson. Thanks for joining us.