The participants in the civil litigation process concern themselves with torts (civil wrongs) committed by tortfeasors against plaintiffs. If the tortfeasor gets sued, they become the defendant and hire an attorney. Both sides investigate the merits of the complaint, line up witnesses, and prepare to argue their side before a judge and jury.
Juries in civil cases can award compensatory damages to pay the plaintiff for actual loss suffered, but sometimes they can also award punitive damages above actual loss to punish the defendant and discourage others.
Your assignment this week is to answer the following questions:
Find two cases where punitive damages were awarded:
- One in which you feel the damages were justified, and
- One in which they were not.
- Explain your answers.