15, Punitive Damages, Part II, Establishing Liability, [section] 15:6 Prerequisites for Punitive Damage Awards, Sub.
In last month's issue, the first part of this article explored Florida's cases involving both the traditional rule and the modern rule of whether punitive damages are available for actions traditionally cognizable in equity.
2) Some commentators, however, have argued that the law/equity merger has affected only procedural rights, not substantive ones, and, thus questioned whether the right to a jury trial on punitive damages is procedural or substantive:
Robbennolt, Punitive Damage Decision Making: The Decisions of Citizens and Trial Court Judges, 26 Law & Hum.
Nearly every jurisdiction that allows for the recovery of noncompensatory punitive damages conceives of them as serving two main purposes: (1) punishing outrageous conduct and (2) deterring its future occurrence.
Simultaneously, a large majority of jurisdictions and the Restatement of Torts disallow punitive damages recoveries following the death of the tortfeasor.
Article and allow punitive damages recovery for OPA claims and other
action because their punitive damages prohibition falls outside the
acceptance of punitive damages for OPA and other general maritime law
Reliance on that, for punitive damages purposes, is permissible.
But to the extent New GM employees actually had knowledge relevant to post-Sale accident claims or Independent Claims (even if it was inherited), plaintiffs in actions asserting such claims are free to base punitive damages claims on evidence of such knowledge to the extent nonbankruptcy law permits.
The Court rules simply that evidence of information obtained by New GM after the sale "gets through the gate," and may be relied upon, for punitive damages purposes, to the extent otherwise appropriate in the underlying actions.
Punitive damages are frequently bundled with compensatory damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
In order to be awarded punitive damages, the plaintiff typically must prove that the defendant was grossly negligent, exhibiting wanton and reckless disregard of the risks.
The above hypothetical is taken from an actual case where punitive damages were allowed by the courts because of the egregious nature of misconduct.