Suing for Punitive Damages in Sunnyvale

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Litigation Lawyers in Sunnyvale

In Sunnyvale, California, the civil litigation system is mainly concerned with compensating the victims of wrongdoing, rather than punishing the wrongdoers, or casting moral blame upon them.

There is a major exception to this rule, however. In limited circumstances, courts in Sunnyvale, California will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm sustained by the plaintiff. Rather, these damages, which are known as "punitive damages", are meant to punish the wrongdoer, and serve as a deterrent.

It's essential to note that courts in Sunnyvale, California prefer not to grant punitive damages. This is because the civil justice system is designed mainly to compensate the victims of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, there are some cases where the defendant's conduct was so immoral and evil that civil courts have an interest in making them pay further damages, going above and beyond what's needed to compensate the victim, in order to serve as a deterrent.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Sunnyvale, California

Mostly personal injury cases in Sunnyvale, California do not involve punitive damages, because the defendant did not intend to cause harm, or act with some other form of malice. Instead, most of these cases involve situations where the defendant acted carelessly, but did not actually intend to cause harm. This is enough to award compensatory damages, but it is far from sufficient to award punitive damages in Sunnyvale, California.

In Sunnyvale, California, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme circumstances. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Sunnyvale, California will consider many different factors. Usually, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.

There are limits on punitive damages in Sunnyvale, California. The Supreme Court has held that punitive damage awards which are grossly disproportionate to the immorality of the conduct, and the harm that it caused, are an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process of law.

Punitive damages in Sunnyvale, California usually cannot surpass 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in California have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be strongly dependent on the facts of each case.

How Can a Sunnyvale, California Attorney Help?

The law of Sunnyvale, California doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are necessary before punitive damages can be authorized. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are numerous situations where they might be awarded.

If you are located in Sunnyvale, California, and are involved in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Sunnyvale, California civil litigation attorney

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Life in Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale, California is a major city in the Silicon Valley of the San Francisco Bay Area. It has a population of 140,000 and is an important contributor to the field of high-tech electronic and digital technology. Sunnyvale is home to several major high-tech companies, and consistently ranks as one of the safest cities in the entire country.

As early as the 1960's, major corporations have been moving to Sunnyvale, California to participate in the digital and electronic boom centered in the Silicon Valley. Companies such as Yahoo!, Advanced Micro Devices, and Palm, Inc. are headquartered in the city. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, grew up in Sunnyvale, where he was exposed to the innovation and technology in Silicon Valley.

Sunnyvale is a unique city in that it maintains a Department of Public Safety. This department is a single, unified body that trains all personnel to operate as police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical response teams. This arrangement helps contribute to the city's low crime and overall city. Sunnyvale also holds a number of community social events that provide residents with ample opportunities for recreation.

Lawyers in Sunnyvale, California practice law in a number of fields in order to serve the unique needs of the city's businesses and residents. Sunnyvale lawyers process many legal claims at the Sunnyvale branch of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.

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