Emotions as a message to corporate America

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Chapter 11 endnote 65, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

The two plaintiffs were awarded about $250,000 each to compensate them for feeling humiliated and bullied, plus a remarkable $1.75 million in punitive damages for “emotional distress and mental anguish.”

In an era where people increasingly fear for their privacy, the lawyer arguing the case asked the jury to send corporate America a message. Quote from the closing argument:

“[T]he biggest purpose here — is to deter others from doing this. There is no other way to make this kind of wrongdoing stop — because Congress and the law assume you will take care of it — and have designated you to do it. No one else can. I am not going to tell you what your verdict should be on this — this is your decision to make[...]. Your verdict must be large enough so that the publicity goes across the country so that every business hears about this. That all 122 million people employed in the United States hears about it.... [I]n order for that billion dollar company to listen — in order to deter them — you must make them wake up and pay attention.”[1]

Notes on the Notes

  1. Farahany. Nita. 2015. "Jurors award $2.25M in 'devious defecator' case." The Washington Post, June 23.