Copyright (c) 2004 Arizona State Law Journal
Arizona State Law Journal
SYMPOSIUM: WE'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN: THE IMPACT OF REMAND ORDERS FROM HIGHER TO LOWER COURTS ON AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE: The Need to Clarify the Meaning of U.S. Supreme Court Remands: The Lessons of Punitive Damages' Cases
36 Ariz. St. L.J. 513
Erwin Chemerinsky+ & Ned Miltenberg*
Two decades ago, Professor Arthur D. Hellman wrote that "the most puzzling mode of disposition in the Supreme Court's repertory is the summary order vacating the judgment below and remanding the case to the lower court "for further consideration in light of' a Supreme Court decision." 1 Nothing in the last 20 years has provided any clarity as to how lower courts are to treat "GVR" - grant, vacate, and remand - orders. The confusion exists in the press, among lawyers and, most importantly, in the lower courts.
In the last year, each of the authors has had the experience of handling a case in the U.S. Supreme Court and then in the lower courts after GVRs were ordered. Last April, in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell, 2 the Supreme Court determined that a punitive damage award rendered by a Utah jury and upheld by the Utah Supreme Court was so "grossly excessive" it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of Due Process. 3 Within two weeks of that ruling, the Supreme Court issued the first of ten "GVR" orders in punitive damage cases in which petitions for certiorari had been "held" by the Court pending its disposition in State Farm. 4 Among the ten GVRs issued were ones in Ford Motor Co. v. Romo 5 and Ford Motor Co. v. Estate of Smith, 6 in which the authors served as Supreme Court Counsel for the Respondents.
Advocates for punitive damages "reform" were quick to proclaim ...
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