Punitive Damages Reform: HB 729 (1995): N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 10-15(b), 1D‑25 .


Limits the award of punitive damages to the greater of

Limits the award of punitive damages to the greater of three times the award of compensatory damages or $250,000, unless the defendant caused the injury by driving while impaired.  Requires a plaintiff to show by “clear and convincing” evidence that a defendant was liable for compensatory damages and acted with fraud, malice, willful or wanton conduct.  Requires the determination of awards for punitive damages to be made in a separate proceeding at the request of the defendant.  The statute limiting punitive damages awards to the greater of three times compensatory damages or $250,000 did not violate the right to a jury trial, separation of powers principle, open courts guarantee, prohibition against special legislation, or the principles of due process, equal protection or the right to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor under the State Constitution, and was not void for vagueness.  Rhyne v. K-Mart Corp., 2002 WL 553461 (N.C. App. Apr. 16, 2002).

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