Copyright (c) 2004 University of Miami
The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review
ARTICLE: MORAL DAMAGES UNDER THE CIVIL LAW OF MEXICO. Are These Damages Equivalent to U.S. Punitive Damages?
35 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 183
Jorge A. Vargas *
Under Mexican Civil Law, successful lawsuits in tort law cases culminate with the awarding of an economic indemnification in favor of the victim (or the victim's heirs in wrongful death cases), as mandated by the Civil Code of the jurisdiction where the injury occurred. 1 Out of a total of 3,074 sections, Mexico's Civil Code includes only thirty-five sections that contain the basic principles governing tort law cases, 2 known in Mexico as "extra-contractual liability cases." 3
During the first fifty years of the application of the Civil Code for the Federal District (1932-1982), the reparation of the damages awarded by Mexican courts, at the election of the injured party, consisted of either the restoration of the damaged item to its previous condition, if possible, or in the payment of a liquidated amount legally consisting of both damages and losses. 4 As defined by the Code, "damages" are the loss or diminution of assets suffered as a result of the failure to comply with an obligation, and "losses" are the deprivation of lawful gains that would have resulted had there been compliance with an obligation. 5
Essentially, under the legal regime prescribed by the Civil Code, the Mexican court follows these very simple steps: (1) it determines the occurrence of the tortious act; (2) it establishes the causality relationship between the injury and the tortious act; (3) it ascertains and quantifies the damages and losses based on the evidence submitted to the ...
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