Closed Thread
Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 49
  1. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21

    punitive damages in PA?

    New question: I have read somewhere that PA is a rare state in which punitive damages are allowed in small claims. At the root is a breach of contract but I will be able to prove malice ... that it was done purely out of ill will, with additional elements of deceit. So maybe this qualifies. My question is: do I specifically request an amount for punitive damages (like, do I literally use the word?) ... or do I let the judge come to that conclusion?


  2. #32
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    1,187
    You will need to ask for anything you expect the judge to order.


  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29,232
    Quote Originally Posted by hbrooks7 View Post
    New question: I have read somewhere that PA is a rare state in which punitive damages are allowed in small claims. At the root is a breach of contract but I will be able to prove malice ... that it was done purely out of ill will, with additional elements of deceit. So maybe this qualifies. My question is: do I specifically request an amount for punitive damages (like, do I literally use the word?) ... or do I let the judge come to that conclusion?
    Punitive damages are rarely awarded in a small claims action but you would ask for them in your complaint.

    The amount of a punitive award is generally left for a jury to decide. The amount will be based on the nature and extent of the injury suffered and the financial net worth of the party against whom it is awarded (often somewhere around 10-15% of net worth - anything greater could be judged excessive).

    There should be some relationship between the actual harm/monetary loss and the punitive award. Punitive damages are designed to punish outrageous past behavior and deter future harm.

    Yours is a breach of contract case?


  4. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21
    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I think it qualifies as a contract breach. I joined a sports league four years ago, paying $5K for a one-time franchise entry fee. Was just voted out of league. Owner can only be removed (per league bylaws) with "fair warning" and for "just cause", neither of which applies, this will be extremely easy to prove. It was admitted in writing that it was done merely because some people don't like me. But that can't be a reason.

    So in this case there is clear malice involved ... I'm the victim of a witch hunt. I am owed at a minimum the return of entry fee. Additionally I spent a lot out of pocket (about $20K) to run the team over past four years (uniforms, officials, etc.)

    My claim is for the max, $12,000. I did not specify causes in the written complaint, figuring I wait until the hearing? I don't know if I argue that the other $7K is for a return of some of what I already spent or if I should specifically ask for punitive damages (by name) because of the malice/ill will.

    Thanks again!


  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29,232
    Quote Originally Posted by hbrooks7 View Post
    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I think it qualifies as a contract breach. I joined a sports league four years ago, paying $5K for a one-time franchise entry fee. Was just voted out of league. Owner can only be removed (per league bylaws) with "fair warning" and for "just cause", neither of which applies, this will be extremely easy to prove. It was admitted in writing that it was done merely because some people don't like me. But that can't be a reason.

    So in this case there is clear malice involved ... I'm the victim of a witch hunt. I am owed at a minimum the return of entry fee. Additionally I spent a lot out of pocket (about $20K) to run the team over past four years (uniforms, officials, etc.)

    My claim is for the max, $12,000. I did not specify causes in the written complaint, figuring I wait until the hearing? I don't know if I argue that the other $7K is for a return of some of what I already spent or if I should specifically ask for punitive damages (by name) because of the malice/ill will.

    Thanks again!
    So you are in Philadelphia?

    I doubt you will get punitive damages awarded but you can request that the court consider a punitive award. The jury (or judge) will determine if the behavior of the defendant was extreme and outrageous (willful, wanton).


  6. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21
    Philly suburbs (Bucks).

    So then I guess I should ask for $5K for breach, and $7K for "punitive damages, and your honor, here's why their actions were willful, wanton, and malicious ..." I hope I can still link it to past expenditures, if purely punitive damages doesn't fly. I don't know if I have to choose one or the other or if the judge decides.

    Two defendants were listed ... the head of the league and the league itself. I am also unsure who is ultimately liable, I just know someone is. This, too, I assume, is something that the judge will determine.

    Thanks for your help!


  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    71,240
    I still don't understand why you think you'll get punitive damages in a contracts case...


  8. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    I still don't understand why you think you'll get punitive damages in a contracts case...
    Oh I don't think I *will* get it, I merely hope to get it, and I fully understand that punitive damages may be hard to come by although there is provable malice. Now I suppose my situation isn't a clear cut case of a contract breach. Could be negligence or fraud? I (my franchise) was removed in clear violation of league bylaws. I relied on the bylaws upon joining and spent money accordingly, paid for an entry fee and also spent money to run the team.


  9. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29,232
    Quote Originally Posted by hbrooks7 View Post
    Oh I don't think I *will* get it, I merely hope to get it, and I fully understand that punitive damages may be hard to come by although there is provable malice. Now I suppose my situation isn't a clear cut case of a contract breach. Could be negligence or fraud? I (my franchise) was removed in clear violation of league bylaws. I relied on the bylaws upon joining and spent money accordingly, paid for an entry fee and also spent money to run the team.
    The amount of punitive damages is not set by you but by the judge/jury after a review of the facts and the defendant's financial situation. You sue for actual damages and request punitive damages in the amount as the judge/jury deems appropriate.


  10. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21
    Thanks Quincy. I assumed that there is no need for me to list all the claims (breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, etc.) as if it was a full-blown lawsuit, since non-lawyers aren't expected to know them and because the form to fill out leaves enough room for one paragraph in normal-sized print.

    Do I mention these at the hearing or does the judge figure it out on his own?


  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29,232
    Quote Originally Posted by hbrooks7 View Post
    Thanks Quincy. I assumed that there is no need for me to list all the claims (breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, etc.) as if it was a full-blown lawsuit, since non-lawyers aren't expected to know them and because the form to fill out leaves enough room for one paragraph in normal-sized print.

    Do I mention these at the hearing or does the judge figure it out on his own?
    If you are asking for punitive damages, you will need to present evidence to support the request. I do not see that you will be able to reach the very high bar of proving outrageous, morally reprehensible conduct by your defendant.

    A showing of negligence or even gross negligence is not enough on its own to justify a punitive damages award.

    You can request financial information during discovery. The judge/jury determines the amount of the punitive damages to be awarded. You present the court with your actual damages.

    Good luck.


    Last edited by quincy; 10-25-2017 at 01:47 PM.
  12. #42
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21
    Thank you Quincy. Your help has been much appreciated. I only referred to negligence/fraud as additional possible torts, so that punitive damages (still under five figures) might also be considered. There are elements here of intentional fraud and malice/ill will that I haven't described, that are flatly revealed in emails.

    Thanks again!


  13. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29,232
    Quote Originally Posted by hbrooks7 View Post
    Thank you Quincy. Your help has been much appreciated. I only referred to negligence/fraud as additional possible torts, so that punitive damages (still under five figures) might also be considered. There are elements here of intentional fraud and malice/ill will that I haven't described, that are flatly revealed in emails.

    Thanks again!
    You're welcome, hbrooks7. Good luck in court.


  14. #44
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    21
    Question: If A deliberately tells a false statement to B which directly leads B to do harm to C, what would the applicable tort be? Is there such a thing as third-party misrepresentation?


  15. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29,232
    Quote Originally Posted by hbrooks7 View Post
    Question: If A deliberately tells a false statement to B which directly leads B to do harm to C, what would the applicable tort be? Is there such a thing as third-party misrepresentation?
    There are numerous torts. A tort is simply a civil wrong. Contract cases generally do not involve tortious acts.

    Here from the Wex Legal Dictionary is a good overview of tort law (offering an incomplete list of assorted torts): https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/tort

    In your small claims suit, you should not worry about giving your claims legal labels. In fact, it is often best if you don't.


Closed Thread
Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Small claim - how to use email and or text messages as evidence
    By curious12 in forum Small Claims Courts
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-17-2013, 09:57 AM
  2. Email submission in Small Claims
    By littleones in forum Small Claims Courts
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-27-2009, 02:48 PM
  3. Small Claims evidence
    By jorjiewyo in forum Small Claims Courts
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-12-2003, 01:54 PM
  4. Small Claims Evidence
    By blink401 in forum Small Claims Courts
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-25-2002, 10:03 AM
  5. presenting evidence in small claims court
    By HISGIRLONLY in forum Workplace Injuries & Worker’s Compensation
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-02-2001, 11:45 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© Since 1995 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.