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Punitive Damages in California Employment Law The last form of damages that is commonly awarded in California wrongful termination suits is so-called “punitive damages.” Unlike the other forms of damages we discuss above, punitive damages are not designed to compensate the wrongfully discharged employee for any harms or expenses. Based upon this principle of law, the Adams decision requires plaintiffs seeking punitive damages to present evidence of the defendant’s financial condition as a prerequisite to a punitive damage award. Punitive damages are award in addition to any compensatory or other damages, increasing the plaintiff’s total award. Punitive damages, also known as “exemplary damages,” are a monetary amount awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit for the purpose of punishing the defendant, or to deter him from engaging in the same conduct in the future. Punitive Damages Under California Law In California, punitive damages are generally available, in non-breach of contract cases, when a plaintiff … Because the purposes of punitive damages are to punish the wrongdoer and to make an example of him, the wealthier the wrongdoer, the larger the award of punitive damages.” Adams v. Murakami, supra, 54 Cal.3d at 110-111. The rulings were as follows: Courts could consider the defendant's conduct towards people other than the plaintiff, The Bankhead court explained that, Under California law, “ [w]ealth is an important consideration in determining the excessiveness of a punitive damage award. California Punitive Damages Court of Appeal reverses $6 million punitive damages award in products liability case (Soulliere v. Examples include: Hit and run car accident […] California law requires that the court take 3 factors into consideration when evaluating the validity of a punitive damage award claim: Reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct. The amount of compensatory damages awarded or actual harm suffered by the plaintiff. In California, punitive damages are also referred to as “exemplary” damages. (a) In any action for damages arising out of the professional negligence of a health care provider, n o claim for punitive damages shall be included in a complaint or other pleading unless the court enters an order allowing an amended pleading that includes a claim for punitive damages to be filed. No evidence of financial condition – no punitive damages. How Can the Victims of Negligence Receive Punitive Damages? (d) Damages may be recovered pursuant to this section in an action pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 377.10) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure based upon a death which resulted from a homicide for which the defendant has been convicted of a felony, whether or not the decedent died instantly or survived the fatal injury for some period of time. Punitive Damages in California Attorney Michael Rehm -- (800) 978-0754 In certain Personal Injury cases the person injured may be awarded punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are damages that are designed to punish the defendant for their conduct. Punitive damages, called “exemplary” damages under California law, are intended as punishment, and are meant to deter similar negligence in the future. The purposes of punitive damages are to punish a wrongdoer for the conduct that harmed the plaintiff and to discourage similar conduct in the future. “Dignum et justum est. July 2005 In two rulings issued in June 2005, the California Supreme Court interpreted the U.S. Supreme Court guidance on punitive damages. ”— The Missal Punitive damages are monetary damages awarded to a plaintiff when the law says the defendant should be punished. When Punitive Damages are Available Punitive damages should be awarded if the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. punitive damages. It was the first time in at least two decades that the California Supreme Court addressed punitive damages. See California Civil Code 3294.

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