Litigation Lawyers in West St. Paul
In West St. Paul, Minnesota, civil litigation serves the main purpose of compensating individuals who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In West St. Paul, Minnesota, courts will, in fairly rare cases, require defendants to pay plaintiffs sums of money which aren't calculated by the actual harm and costs the plaintiff has incurred. Alternatively, these "punitive damages," as they are called, are meant to punish and deter wrongdoing.
It's essential to note that courts in West St. Paul, Minnesota 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 West St. Paul, Minnesota
Typically personal injury cases in West St. Paul, Minnesota involve injuries that the defendant did not intend to cause, but was still at fault in causing them (through negligence, for instance). In West St. Paul, Minnesota, this is not enough to justify the award of punitive damages.
Punitive Damages in West St. Paul, Minnesota are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In West St. Paul, Minnesota, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.
There are limits on punitive damages in West St. Paul, Minnesota. 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.
Usually, in West St. Paul, Minnesota, punitive damage awards that exceed the actual damages (those awarded to directly compensate the plaintiff) by a factor of 10. This is not an absolute rule, nonetheless, and is applied on a case-by-case basis. Courts in Minnesota have found much smaller awards to be invalid, and upheld much larger awards.
How Can a West St. Paul, Minnesota Attorney Help?
The law of West St. Paul, Minnesota 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 engaged in a case in West St. Paul, Minnesota where punitive damages are a possibility, a very large amount of money could be at stake, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant. You should not delay to speak with a civil litigation attorney in West St. Paul, Minnesota