Issue: What is necessary to establish a claim for punitive damages in Minnesota?
|Area of Law:||Litigation & Procedure|
|Keywords:||Punitive damages; Clear and convincing evidence; Disregard for the rights or safety of others|
|Cited Cases:||494 N.W.2d 261; 269 N.W.2d 892|
|Cited Statutes:||Minn. Stat. § 549.20, subd. 1(a), § 549.20|
In order to establish a claim for punitive damages, a party must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant acted with a “deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others.” Minn. Stat. § 549.20, subd. 1(a). This phrase, “deliberate disregard” has been statutorily defined as follows:
(b) A defendant has acted with deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others if the Defendant has knowledge of facts or intentionally disregards facts that create a high probability of injury to the rights or safety of others and:
(1) deliberately proceeds to act in conscious or intentional disregard of the high degree of probability of injury to the rights or safety of others; or
(2) deliberately proceeds to act with indifference to the high probability of injury to the rights or safety of others.
Minn. Stat. § 549.20.
To be entitled to amend to allege punitive damages, of course, the movant need not demonstrate an actual entitlement to punitive damages per se. However, it must demonstrate an entitlement to allege such damages and can do so only if it demonstrates by “clear and convincing evidence” a prima facie case supporting all the elements. Berczyk v. Emerson Tool Co., 291 F. Supp. 2d 1004, 1008 (D. Minn. 2004). As noted, one of the elements required to be shown by clear and convincing evidence is that the opposing party acted with deliberate indifference to the rights and safety of others. Thus, a […]