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21 Ohio St. L.J. 216 (1960)
Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Cases

handle is hein.journals/ohslj21 and id is 226 raw text is: PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES
The avowed purpose of awards in personal injury cases is to com-
pensate victims of negligence for financial losses and pain and suffer-
ing. When, however, a defendant is guilty of misconduct worse than
negligence, he may incur an additional liability-for punitive damages
to discourage repetition of his misconduct and to make an example of
him. Most American courts will allow juries to award punitive damages
in two kind of cases: (1) against defendants guilty of outrageous or
oppressive intentional misconduct; and (2) against those guilty of
reckless or wanton disregard of safety or rights.
A recent spectacular example of deserved civil punishment is
Bucher v. Krause.1 The plaintiff, an Oklahoman in Chicago to be mar-
ried, was relaxing in a bar after his trip. Police detectives in search of
a suspect impulsively seized the plaintiff; one officer thought plaintiff
was reaching for a gun and shot him in the buttocks. His papers re-
vealed the mistake; nevertheless, he was arrested, questioned,
booked for resisting arrest, and released on bail. When he appeared
for trial he was approached by a police confederate who purported to
be a lawyer and who talked the plaintiff into signing a release. Since
citizenship was diverse, a federal court entertained the suit, and entered
judgment for 100,000 dollars. The defendants objected to allowing the
jury to award punitive damages. The appellate court said no error had
been committed because Illinois law permits a punitive damage award
when wrongful acts are done with reckless disregard for others' rights
and in any event the cover-up activities were malicious. In reply to
the defendants' attack on the size of the verdict the court said that
though most of the award was punitive damages, the jurors were en-
titled to consider that police officers were charged with atrocious con-
duct and intentional cover-up.
The major problem facing the court was discouragement of this
sort of outrage. Liability for punitive damages seems to be a politic
addition to other disciplinary forces in such cases as this.'
Not all punitive damage awards are so soundly merited. Mulcting
a master in punitive damages for his servant's tort is sometimes insup-
* Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania.
1 200 F.2d 576 (7th Cir. 1952).
2 See also Suzore v. Rutherford, 35 Tenn. App. 678, 251 S.W.2d 129 (1952). (Poacher
awarded $10,000 punitive damages against a landowner who shot him and left him in a
remote place). Was the New Jersey court wise in Mazzili v. Selger, 23 NJ. Super. 496,
93 A.2d 216 (1952) to approve a $5,000 punitive damage award against a nine-year-old
boy who was also held liable for $20,000 compensatory damages for shooting the claimant?

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