|•When a trespass is perpetrated in a rude,
wanton, reckless, or insulting manner, or is accompanied by circumstances of
fraud, malice, oppression, or aggravation, or even with gross negligence, the
party injured is entitled to recover punitive damages.
|•The purpose of punitive damages in not to
compensate the plaintiff but to punish the wrongdoer and to deter the
wrongdoer and others from committing similar wrongs in the future.
|•When considering punitive damages, however, the
defendant’s right to fair punishment must be considered above the plaintiff’s
right to recover the fullest amount of punitive damages.
|•This Court has recognized that it is possible
for a verdict to be excessive even when it is the result of a properly
functioning jury. For example, in
assessing punitive damages, the jury is not allowed to consider the financial
position of the defendant.
|•Other civil actions against the same defendant,
based on the same conduct, should also be taken into account in mitigation of
the punitive damages award.