(a); Westrec Marina Management, Inc. v. Jardine Insurance Brokers Orange County, Inc. (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 1042, 1050.) (BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, supra, 517 US at 568; State Farm Mutual Auto Ins.Co. [Citation. Although malice requires a showing of willful conscious disregard, “oppression” does not require willful behavior. The jury returned compensatory damages in the amount of $3.2 million and punitive damages in the amount of $3 million. Under California law, a wrongful death claim brought by heirs of a decedent can seek damages for economic losses and noneconomic damages associated with the loss of the relationship. (Livesey v. Stock (1929) 208 Cal. that the employee’s decisions ultimately determine corporate policy. (Smith v. Superior Court (1992) 10 Cal.App.4th 1033, 1036.) App. The additional component of ‘despicable conduct’ must be, Cal.Rptr.2d 898, 882 P.2d 894], internal citations omitted. Taylor, at 897. ]’ ” (, • “Used in its ordinary sense, the adjective ‘despicable’ is a powerful term that, refers to circumstances that are ‘base,’ ‘vile,’ or ‘contemptible.’ As amended to, include this word, the statute plainly indicates that absent an intent to injure the, plaintiff, ‘malice’ requires more than a ‘willful and conscious’ disregard of the, plaintiffs’ interests. In September, 2012, Mr. Mardirossian was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top 100 California Lawyers. The scope of a corporate employee’s, discretion and authority under our test is therefore a question of fact for decision, • “In order to demonstrate that an employee is a true managing agent under, section 3294, subdivision (b), a plaintiff seeking punitive damages would have to, show that the employee exercised substantial discretionary authority over, significant aspects of a corporation’s business.” (, • “ ‘[C]orporate policy’ is the general principles which guide a corporation, or, rules intended to be followed consistently over time in corporate operations. that an employee’s hierarchy in a corporation, is not necessarily determinative of his or her status as a managing agent of a. corporation, evidence showing an employee’s hierarchy and job duties, responsibilities, and authority may be sufficient, absent conclusive proof to the, contrary, to support a reasonable inference by a trier of fact that the employee is, Cal.App.4th 358, 370 [162 Cal.Rptr.3d 805]. (Lackner v. North (2006) 135 Cal.App.4th 1188, 1210-1211; Bell v. Sharp Cabrillo Hospital (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 1034, 1044.) ), Plaintiff is not required to prove in his complaint that the defendant is liable for punitive damages. California courts are hesitant to allow punitive damages in auto accident scenarios. (Atkinson v. Elk Corp. (2003) 109 Cal.4th 739, 761; Code Civ. (Hilliard v. A.H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 374, 391-392 [injuries caused by Dalkon Shield]; West v. Johnson & Johnson Products, Inc. (1985) 174 Cal.App.3d 831, 867-871. Employee - Bifurcated Trial (First Phase). Of course, an occasional case of punitive damages “run wild” captures the attention of the public and the legal community. G054522, filed 12/11/18), a California appeals court held that a developer’s failure to allege the amounts of damages sought in its cross-complaint rendered default judgments against a subcontractor void and, therefore, unenforceable against the subcontractor’s insurers in a direct action under Insurance Code section 11580(b)(2). ), • “Section 3294 is no longer silent on who may be responsible for imputing, punitive damages to a corporate employer. In addition to punishing a malicious or reckless defen- (See also CACI 3940-3942.). This fundamental perspective seems to have been accepted by the California Supreme Court. “Mere negligence, even gross negligence, is not sufficient to justify such an award” for punitive damages. (Ramona Manor Convalescent Hospital v. Care Enterprises (1986) 177 Cal.App.3d 1120, 1133.) The court may allow the filing of an amended pleading claiming punitive damages on a motion by the party seeking the amended pleading and on the basis of the supporting and opposing affidavits presented that the plaintiff has established that there is a substantial probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim pursuant to Section 3294 of the Civil Code. “Oppression” means that a defendant’s conduct was despicable and, “Despicable conduct” is conduct that is so vile, base, or contemptible. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 In pleading exemplary or punitive damages, a party must plead facts from which is can reasonably be inferred that the defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud within the meaning of CC § 3294. Corp. (No. It has come to the attention of the Verdict’s Editorial Board and this author that some individuals appear to be nervous and/or dissuaded from filing a Motion to Amend the Complaint to add a claim for punitive damages after the statute of limitations has run based on a Superior Court opinion in Wilson v. U.S. Sec. Corp. v. Globe Indem. When dealing with these complex factual patterns it may be preferable not to allege punitive damages in the original complaint, and to instead bring a later motion for leave to file an amended complaint alleging punitive damages – after obtaining discovery that factually supports recovery of punitive damages. $ Form Approved for Optional Use Judicial Council of California PLD-PI-001(6) [Rev. Punitive damages can be a double-edged sword in personal injury cases due to the danger of pleading yourself out of insurance coverage. A party may plead and support a claim for punitive damages, where an individual being drunk was the proximate cause of the accident and the act of driving while intoxicated was an aggravating circumstance. The right to a punitive damages award in California is strictly statutory. (allowing recovery of punitive damages where defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice). The purpose of bifurcation is to avoid any risk that evidence of defendant’s financial condition will taint the jury’s determination of underlying liability or the issues of “oppression, fraud or malice.” (Adams v. Murakami (1991) 54 Cal.3d 105, 123.) “Malice” means “conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff (i.e., intentional tort), or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.” (non-intentional tort). 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