Legal Memorandum: Claim for Punitive Damages in FL

Issue: What is the evidentiary standard for leave to amend complaint to include punitive damages in Florida?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Leave to amend a complaint; Punitive damages; Evidentiary standard
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 616 So. 2d 553; 658 So. 2d 518
Cited Statutes: Fla. Stat. ch. 768.72 (1999)
Date: 09/01/2000

A plaintiff must obtain the court’s leave to amend a complaint to assert punitive damages.  Fla. Stat. ch. 768.72 (1999); Globe Newspaper Co. v. King, 658 So. 2d 518, 519-20 (Fla. 1995).  Amendment is allowed upon the plaintiff’s showing of a reasonable evidentiary basis for the punitive damages.  Id. at 519-20.  In determining whether the plaintiff has met the evidentiary burden, the court may not weigh the credibility of the evidence supporting the plaintiff’s damages.  Dolphin Cove Ass’n v. Square D Co., 616 So. 2d 553, 553 (Fla. 1993).


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