Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The smallest damages award ever...

In some tort cases, when a plaintiffs sue a defendant more to make a point than to recover money, a court might award nominal damages to recognize the injury but minimize the stakes. A Rangoon court recently took this principle to unjustified extremes. According to Democratic Voice of Burma, a voter in the recent November 7 elections claims he was beaten up by two USDA thugs. Perhaps surprisingly, the court levied a fine on the men. However, this fine amounted to 500 kyats - approximately 50 cents. Meanwhile, the victim and his family claims to have spent at least 30,000 kyats on the litigation thus far. Sadly, the story is surprising not so much because of its blatant impunity, but rather because the court actually bothered to impose any fine at all - usually such cases are simply dismissed. One can only hope this isn't a harbinger of the judiciary under the post-election civilianized government.

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