Monday, July 7, 2014

A claim for punitive damages is denied.

Practice point:  The Appellate Division found that the complaint alleges in conclusory and conjectural fashion that "defendants were grossly, willfully and wantonly negligent and acted with reckless indifference to the health and safety of plaintiff."  Such legal conclusions are insufficient, as the complaint does not allege any facts to demonstrate that the defendant  engaged in conduct which rose to the high level of moral culpability to support a claim for punitive damages.

Student note:  A plaintiff cannot maintain a punitive damages demand on the hope that discovery might provide a basis for it.  However, should discovery reveal facts supporting a claim for punitive damages, the plaintiff could move for leave to replead.

Case:  Barnes v. Hodge, NY Slip Op 04851 (1st Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: Labor Law § 240(1).