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For more than a decade, major corporate defense firms, particularly Mayer Brown and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, have aggressively and successfully pursued U.S. Supreme Court limits on punitive damages awards. The high court’s most recent punitive damages decision — this time in maritime law — offers new fodder for those legal strategists.

Whether the Wednesday decision in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, No. 07-219, reflects a new approach by the justices that could lead to additional and stricter limits on punitive awards outside the context of maritime law will have to await the next constitutional due process challenge that arrives at the high court.

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