Thank you Francesca Petronio, Fabio Cozzi & Francesco Falco for flagging the Italian Supreme Court’s judgment no. 16601/2017 of 5 July last. Thank you also to professor Marta Requejo for sending me copy of the judgment.
In what is suggested to be a Copernican revolution, the Supreme Court has dropped the Italian legal order’s fundamental objection to punitive damages, which made it near-impossible to obtain recognition and enforcement of in particular US judgments containing such damages. The judgment not surprisingly contains a number of conditions in particular on the excessive nature of such damages.
The judges seem to have been swayed by developments both in Italy (statutory law in places allowing for more than simple compensation of material loss) and US law (truly excessive punitive damages having been reigned in).
Punitive damages are the one example always identified as one of the core applications of ordre public in European recognition and enforcement law. After the Italian example surely this may now be less obvious in many jurisdictions.
(Handbook of) EU private international law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading 2.2.16.