Legal Memorandum: Denial of Punitive Damages Claims in MN

Issue: Under what grounds should a motion to amend to state a claim for punitive damages be denied in Minnesota?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Punitive damages; Denial of claim
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2013

Generally, a motion to amend should be denied when (1) the claim is not legally cognizable; or (2) the moving party fails to present sufficient evidence to support it.  Copeland v. Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., 526 N.W.2d 402, 405 (Minn. Ct. App. 1995). 

With respect to a requested punitive damages amendment in particular, when the moving party has not established a prima facie case for any of her claims, “it is axiomatic that [she] cannot sustain [her] burden to show that a punitive damage claim is warranted.”  Hanson v. Friends of Minnesota Sinfonia, No. A03-1061 (Minn. Ct. App. June 8, 2004) (citing Hern v. Bankers Life Cas. Co., 133 F. Supp. 2d 1130, 1136 (D. Minn. 2001)).


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