Legal Memorandum: Punitive Damages in FL

Issue: When does a defendants’ negligent conduct warrant punitive damages under Florida law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Punitive damages; Negligent conduct
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 455 So. 2d 1026
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2000

To sustain an award of punitive damages, the defendants’ negligent conduct must either (1) be of a gross and flagrant character, showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to the conduct’s effects; (2) show such an entire want of care that the defendant must have been consciously indifferent to the consequences; (3) show wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard of the safety and welfare of the public; or (4) show such reckless indifference to the rights of others that it is equivalent to an intentional violation of those rights.  White Rock Constr. v. Dupont, 455 So. 2d 1026, 1029 (Fla. 1984).


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