exemplary damages


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exemplary damages

n. often called punitive damages, these are damages requested and/or awarded in a lawsuit when the defendant's willful acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton, or grossly reckless. Examples of acts warranting exemplary damages: publishing that someone had committed murders when the publisher knew it was not true but hated the person; an ex-husband trashes his former wife's auto and threatens further property damage; a stockbroker buys and sells a widow's stocks to generate commissions resulting in her losing all her capital (money). These damages are awarded both as a punishment and to set a public example. They reward the plaintiff for the horrible nature of what she/he went through or suffered. Although often requested, exemplary damages are seldom awarded. There have been major awards in egregious (remarkable or outstanding) cases, such as fraud schemes, sexual harassment, or other intentional and vicious actions even when the provable actual damages were not extensive. (See: damages)

References in periodicals archive ?
He said leading lawyers had questioned the legality of the "carrot and stick" system, where newspapers who sign up to a regulator recognised under the royal charter system will be spared the threat of exemplary damages, claiming it could breach human rights laws.
But he acknowledged that legislation was necessary to establish a system of exemplary damages for newspapers that did not sign up to the regulator.
Legislation is being introduced so that newspapers will be liable to pay exemplary damages if they refuse to sign up to the regulator.