Carey v. Philips case brief summary.
§ Pl. suing for violation of due process rights (based on 42 U.S.C. Sec 1983). Must prove “actual harm” to recover substantial non-punitive damages (no actual harm here because even if had been given a hearing, would have been same outcome)However, Ps are entitled to nominal damages because Const. right was violated (court explicitly says shouldn’t apply this holding to all Const. rights)
§ How do you figure out the value of a constitutional right? How would you
§ prove the value of what was lost in this case? Loss of citizenship, Harm to reputation (In this case, PL. lawyers made analogy to defamation of character- “defamation per say”; defamation that affects career, reputation would never fully recover, will suffer damages (e.g. loss of clients, etc.)- The students will remain tainted by these suspensions.)
§ 2 harms inflicted on the students: lost time at school and being denied a hearing. The right to be heard is a separate and independent right even if you don’t ultimately prevail.
§ How do you value that right? Q. How do you measure damages for these harms? A. Get something for not be listened to, for being dismissed, for having right to be heard violated.
§ PL. are arguing for damages for a sort of deterrence (which is punitive damages). Court throws this out because in order to be awarded punitive, here needs to be a maliciousness which was not the case here
o Compensatory remedies are tricky in terms of valuation-How do you value a Const. right? How to value ordinary property that has a different value to owner than rest of world? (see Buffalo Creek)