Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

California Civil Code § 3294

Punitive Damages – California Civil Code 3294

When someone else causes you harm, you may want to do everything possible to hold them accountable for their actions. Many victims envision using a personal injury lawsuit to punish another person for causing them harm. In California, accident victims are generally able to recover economic and non-economic damages without issue.

Punitive damages, however, are more difficult to recover under California law. There are very limited circumstances under which a victim may successfully recover a punitive award.

If you have been injured because of another person’s actions, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation from them. Punitive damages may be available if their actions were extreme and malicious. A personal injury lawyer at Citywide Law Group can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today to request a free consultation and learn more.

What are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are those awarded to a plaintiff (personal injury victim) to punish a defendant for their actions. These awards are not intended to compensate the plaintiff for any harm they have suffered. Instead, plaintiffs can recover economic and non-economic damages to take care of financial and hard-to-value losses.

Punitive damages are solely awarded as a punishment for malicious and/or incredibly reckless behavior. Any punitive damages are awarded in addition to any economic and non-economic damages that a plaintiff may recover.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

Punitive damages are not available in every personal injury lawsuit that may be filed. Instead, California limits the situations when a defendant can be punished monetarily for his or her actions. A defendant’s conduct must rise above simple negligence or misconduct.

Oppression, Fraud, or Malice

Under California Civil Code 3294, a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant in their case is guilty of:

  1. Oppression
  2. Fraud, or
  3. Malice.

Oppression

California law defines oppression to mean “despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.”

Fraud

California law defines fraud, for the purposes of awarding punitive damages, to mean:

  1. “Intentional misrepresentation, deceit,” or
  2. “Concealment of a material fact known to the defendant with the intention on the part of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury.”

Malice

California defines malice, for the purposes of awarding punitive damages, to mean:

  1. “Conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff,” or
  2. “Despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.”

Clear and Convincing Evidence

It must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. Clear and convincing evidence means that there must be a very high degree of probability that something is true. Evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice must be more persuasive than other evidence offered in a civil lawsuit.

Willful and Wanton Negligence

California courts have also held that punitive damages may be awarded if a defendant is guilty of willful and wanton negligence.

In 1941, the California Supreme Court, in Donnelly v. Southern Pacific Co., explained that a defendant who performs an act “intentionally with the knowledge that it will probably cause harm” can be required to pay damages above and beyond those available in traditional negligence cases.

When a defendant is simply negligent, they may not realize that their actions pose a serious threat to others. Willful and wanton negligence, on the other hand, requires disregarding the risks that behavior may pose to others.

Wrongful Death & Survivorship Claims

Punitive damages are generally prohibited in California wrongful death cases. However, plaintiffs pursuing damages from a wrongful death claim may be entitled to an award of punitive damages if the defendant is convicted of felony murder. [California Code of Civil Procedure 3294(d)]

The personal representatives of a deceased accident victim’s estate may also be entitled to recover punitive damages by filing a survivorship claim. Punitive damages may be awarded in these cases if the victim had survived and would have been entitled to recover punitive damages himself. [California Code of Civil Procedure 377.34]

Situations Where Punitive Damages Can Be Awarded

In California, personal injury victims may be entitled to receive an award of monetary punitive damages if an injury is the result of:

  1. Car accidents caused by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  2. Assault and battery
  3. Sexual assault
  4. Intentional infliction of emotional distress, and
  5. Wrongful termination.

Calculating the Value of Punitive Damages

When a jury determines that a defendant has acted with oppression, fraud, or malice, they may decide that an award of punitive damages is appropriate. How is the amount of these damages calculated?

Factors Relevant to the Calculation

A jury will consider all of the following factors when calculating punitive damages:

  1. How reprehensible was the defendant’s conduct?
  2. Did the defendant cause physical harm?
  3. Did the defendant disregard the safety and health or others;?
  4. Did the defendant knew about the victim’s financial vulnerabilities and take advantage of that knowledge?
  5. Was the defendant’s conduct was part of a pattern or practice?
  6. Did the defendant act with trickery or deceit?
  7. What award is necessary to punish the defendant and discourage future wrongful conduct?
  8. Is there a reasonable relationship between the degree of the defendant’s wrongful conduct and an appropriate award of punitive damages?

Punitive damages may not be increased simply because a defendant has significant financial resources. The calculation must be based solely on the defendant’s actions.

Limits on Punitive Awards

California law does not place a cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a lawsuit. However, in 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States explained in State Farm v. Campbell that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits “grossly excessive or arbitrary punishments.” Punitive damages must be “reasonable and proportionate to the amount of harm to the plaintiff and to the general damages recovered.”

Fighting to Recover Punitive Damages in California

Have you been injured because of another person’s wrongful conduct? If they acted with oppression, fraud, or malice, you may be entitled to recover an award of punitive damages. These punitive damages would be awarded in addition to any other compensation you receive. Contact the Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group for help pursuing the compensation to which you are entitled. During your free consultation, we will thoroughly review your case and determine if punitive damages may be available.

Resources

source


CIVIL CODE – CIV

DIVISION 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS [3274 – 9566]

  ( Heading of Division 4 amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 160, Sec. 16. )

PART 1. RELIEF [3274 – 3428]

  ( Part 1 enacted 1872. )

TITLE 2. COMPENSATORY RELIEF [3281 – 3361]

  ( Title 2 enacted 1872. )

CHAPTER 1. Damages in General [3281 – 3296]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted 1872. )

ARTICLE 3. Exemplary Damages [3294 – 3296]

  ( Article 3 enacted 1872. )

3294.  

  • (a) In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.
  • (b) An employer shall not be liable for damages pursuant to subdivision (a), based upon acts of an employee of the employer, unless the employer had advance knowledge of the unfitness of the employee and employed him or her with a conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others or authorized or ratified the wrongful conduct for which the damages are awarded or was personally guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. With respect to a corporate employer, the advance knowledge and conscious disregard, authorization, ratification or act of oppression, fraud, or malice must be on the part of an officer, director, or managing agent of the corporation.
  • (c) As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply:
    • (1) “Malice” means conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.
    • (2) “Oppression” means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.
    • (3) “Fraud” means an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact known to the defendant with the intention on the part of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury.
  • (d) Damages may be recovered pursuant to this section in an action pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 377.10) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure based upon a death which resulted from a homicide for which the defendant has been convicted of a felony, whether or not the decedent died instantly or survived the fatal injury for some period of time. The procedures for joinder and consolidation contained in Section 377.62 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall apply to prevent multiple recoveries of punitive or exemplary damages based upon the same wrongful act.
  • (e) The amendments to this section made by Chapter 1498 of the Statutes of 1987 apply to all actions in which the initial trial has not commenced prior to January 1, 1988.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 178, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1993.) source

 


To Learn More…. Read MORE Below and click the links Below 


Abuse & Neglect The Mandated Reporters  (Police, D.A & Medical & the Bad Actors)

Mandated Reporter Laws – Nurses, District Attorney’s, and Police should listen up
If You Would Like to Learn More About:
The California Mandated Reporting LawClick Here

To Read the Penal Code § 11164-11166 – Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Act – California Penal Code 11164-11166Article 2.5. (CANRAClick Here

 Mandated Reporter formMandated ReporterFORM SS 8572.pdfThe Child Abuse

ALL POLICE CHIEFS, SHERIFFS AND COUNTY WELFARE DEPARTMENTS  INFO BULLETIN:
Click Here Officers and DA’s
 for (Procedure to Follow)

It Only Takes a Minute to Make a Difference in the Life of a Child learn more below

You can learn more here California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law  its a PDF file


Learn More About True Threats Here below….

We also have the The Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)1st Amendment

CURRENT TEST = We also have the TheBrandenburg testfor incitement to violence 1st Amendment

We also have the The Incitement to Imminent Lawless Action Test 1st Amendment

We also have the True Threats – Virginia v. Black is most comprehensive Supreme Court definition – 1st Amendment

We also have the Watts v. United StatesTrue Threat Test – 1st Amendment

We also have the Clear and Present Danger Test – 1st Amendment

We also have the Gravity of the Evil Test – 1st Amendment

We also have the Elonis v. United States (2015) – Threats – 1st Amendment


Learn More About What is Obscene…. be careful about education it may enlighten you

We also have the Miller v. California 3 Prong Obscenity Test (Miller Test) – 1st Amendment

We also have the Obscenity and Pornography – 1st Amendment


Learn More About Police, The Government Officials and You….

$$ Retaliatory Arrests and Prosecution $$

Anti-SLAPP Law in California

Freedom of AssemblyPeaceful Assembly1st Amendment Right

We also have the Brayshaw v. City of Tallahassee1st Amendment Posting Police Address

We also have the Publius v. Boyer-Vine –1st Amendment Posting Police Address

We also have the Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida (2018) – 1st Amendment – Retaliatory Police Arrests

We also have the Nieves v. Bartlett (2019)1st Amendment – Retaliatory Police Arrests

We also have the Hartman v. Moore (2006)1st Amendment – Retaliatory Police Arrests
Retaliatory Prosecution Claims
Against Government Officials1st Amendment

We also have the Reichle v. Howards (2012) – 1st Amendment – Retaliatory Police Arrests
Retaliatory Prosecution Claims
Against Government Officials1st Amendment

Freedom of the Press Flyers, Newspaper, Leaflets, Peaceful Assembly1$t Amendment – Learn More Here

Vermont’s Top Court Weighs: Are KKK Fliers1st Amendment Protected Speech

We also have the Insulting letters to politician’s home are constitutionally protected, unless they are ‘true threats’ – Letters to Politicians Homes – 1st Amendment

We also have the First Amendment Encyclopedia very comprehensive 1st Amendment

Dwayne Furlow v. Jon Belmar – Police Warrant – Immunity Fail – 4th, 5th, & 14th Amendment


ARE PEOPLE LYING ON YOU? CAN YOU PROVE IT? IF YES…. THEN YOU ARE IN LUCK!

Penal Code 118 PC – California Penalty of “Perjury” Law

Federal Perjury – Definition by Law

Penal Code 132 PCOffering False Evidence

Penal Code 134 PCPreparing False Evidence

Penal Code 118.1 PCPolice Officer$ Filing False Report$

Spencer v. PetersPolice Fabrication of Evidence – 14th Amendment

Penal Code 148.5 PC –  Making a False Police Report in California

Penal Code 115 PCFiling a False Document in California


Sanctions and Attorney Fee Recovery for Bad Actors

FAM § 3027.1 – Attorney’s Fees and Sanctions For False Child Abuse AllegationsFamily Code 3027.1 – Click Here

FAM § 271 – Awarding Attorney Fees– Family Code 271 Family Court Sanction Click Here

Awarding Discovery Based Sanctions in Family Law Cases – Click Here

FAM § 2030 – Bringing Fairness & Fee RecoveryClick Here

Zamos v. StroudDistrict Attorney Liable for Bad Faith ActionClick Here


Mi$Conduct Pro$ecutorial Mi$Conduct

Prosecutor$

Criminal Motions § 1:9 – Motion for Recusal of Prosecutor

Pen. Code, § 1424 – Recusal of Prosecutor

Removing Corrupt Judges, Prosecutors, Jurors and other Individuals & Fake Evidence from Your Case

 

Mi$Conduct JudiciaMi$Conduct

Judge$

Prosecution Of Judges For Corrupt Practice$

Code of Conduct for United States Judge$

Disqualification of a Judge for Prejudice

Judicial Immunity from Civil and Criminal Liability

Recusal of Judge – CCP § 170.1Removal a Judge – How to Remove a Judge

l292 Disqualification of Judicial OfficerC.C.P. 170.6 Form

How to File a Complaint Against a Judge in California?

Commission on Judicial PerformanceJudge Complaint Online Form

Why Judges, District Attorneys or Attorneys Must Sometimes Recuse Themselves

Removing Corrupt Judges, Prosecutors, Jurors and other Individuals & Fake Evidence from Your Case


Misconduct by Government Know Your Rights Click Here (must read!)

 Under 42 U.S.C. $ection 1983 – Recoverable Damage$

42 U.S. Code § 1983 – Civil Action for Deprivation of Right$

18 U.S. Code § 242Deprivation of Right$ Under Color of Law

18 U.S. Code § 241Conspiracy against Right$

Section 1983 LawsuitHow to Bring a Civil Rights Claim

What is Tort?

 Suing for MisconductKnow More of Your Right$

Police Misconduct in CaliforniaHow to Bring a Lawsuit

How to File a complaint of Police Misconduct? (Tort Claim Forms here as well)

Deprivation of Rights – Under Color of the Law

Attorney Rules of Engagement – Government and Public/Private Attorney

What is a Fiduciary Duty; Breach of Fiduciary Duty

The Attorney’s Sworn Oath

Malicious Prosecution / Prosecutorial Misconduct – Know What it is!

New Supreme Court Ruling – makes it easier to sue police

Possible courses of action Prosecutorial Misconduct

Misconduct by Judges & ProsecutorRules of Professional Conduct

Functions and Duties of the ProsecutorProsecution Conduct

What is Sua Sponte and How is it Used in a California Court? 

Removing Corrupt Judges, Prosecutors, Jurors
and other Individuals & Fake Evidence
from Your Case 

Anti-SLAPP Law in California

Freedom of Assembly – Peaceful Assembly – 1st Amendment Right

How to Recover “Punitive Damages” in a California Personal Injury Case

Pro Se Forms and Forms Information(Tort Claim Forms here as well)


PARENT CASE LAW 

RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILDREN &
YOUR
CONSTITUIONAL RIGHT$ + RULING$

YOU CANNOT GET BACK TIME BUT YOU CAN HIT THOSE IMMORAL NON CIVIC MINDED PUNKS WHERE THEY WILL FEEL YOU = THEIR BANK

Family Law AppealLearn about appealing a Family Court Decision Here

9.3 Section 1983 Claim Against Defendant as (Individuals) —
14th Amendment
this CODE PROTECT$ all US CITIZEN$

Amdt5.4.5.6.2 – Parental and Children’s Rights
5th Amendment
this CODE PROTECT$ all US CITIZEN$

9.32 Interference with Parent / Child Relationship
14th Amendment
this CODE PROTECT$ all US CITIZEN$

California Civil Code Section 52.1
Interference with exercise or enjoyment of individual rights

Parent’s Rights & Children’s Bill of Rights
SCOTUS RULINGS FOR YOUR PARENT RIGHTS

SEARCH of our site for all articles relating for PARENTS RIGHTS Help!

Child’s Best Interest in Custody Cases

Are You From Out of State (California)?  FL-105 GC-120(A)
Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

Learn More:Family Law Appeal

Necessity Defense in Criminal Cases


GRANDPARENT CASE LAW 

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights? If there is an Established Relationship then Yes

Third “PRESUMED PARENT” Family Code 7612(C)Requires Established Relationship Required

Cal State Bar PDF to read about Three Parent Law
The State Bar of California family law news issue4 2017 vol. 39, no. 4.pdf

 

Distinguishing Request for Custody from Request for Visitation

Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)Grandparents – 14th Amendment

S.F. Human Servs. Agency v. Christine C. (In re Caden C.)

9.32 Particular RightsFourteenth AmendmentInterference with Parent / Child Relationship

Child’s Best Interest in Custody Cases

When is a Joinder in a Family Law Case Appropriate?Reason for Joinder

Joinder In Family Law CasesCRC Rule 5.24

GrandParents Rights To Visit
Family Law Packet OC Resource Center
Family Law Packet SB Resource Center

Motion to vacate an adverse judgment

Mandatory Joinder vs Permissive Joinder – Compulsory vs Dismissive Joinder

When is a Joinder in a Family Law Case Appropriate?

Kyle O. v. Donald R. (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 848

Punsly v. Ho (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 1099

Zauseta v. Zauseta (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 1242

S.F. Human Servs. Agency v. Christine C. (In re Caden C.)

Ian J. v. Peter M


DUE PROCESS READS>>>>>>

Due Process vs Substantive Due Process learn more HERE

Understanding Due Process  – This clause caused over 200 overturns in just DNA alone Click Here

Mathews v. EldridgeDue Process – 5th & 14th Amendment Mathews Test3 Part TestAmdt5.4.5.4.2 Mathews Test

UnfriendingEvidence – 5th Amendment

At the Intersection of Technology and Law

We also have the Introducing TEXT & EMAIL Digital Evidence in California Courts  1st Amendment
so if you are interested in learning about 
Introducing Digital Evidence in California State Courts
click here for SCOTUS rulings


Retrieving Evidence / Internal Investigation Case 

Conviction Integrity Unit (“CIU”) of the Orange County District Attorney OCDAClick Here

Fighting Discovery Abuse in LitigationForensic & Investigative AccountingClick Here

Orange County Data, BodyCam, Police Report, Incident Reports,
and all other available known requests for data below: 

APPLICATION TO EXAMINE LOCAL ARREST RECORD UNDER CPC 13321 Click Here

Learn About Policy 814: Discovery Requests OCDA Office – Click Here

Request for Proof In-Custody Form Click Here

Request for Clearance Letter Form Click Here

Application to Obtain Copy of State Summary of Criminal HistoryForm Click Here

Request Authorization Form Release of Case InformationClick Here

Texts / Emails AS EVIDENCEAuthenticating Texts for California Courts

Can I Use Text Messages in My California Divorce?

Two-Steps And Voila: How To Authenticate Text Messages

How Your Texts Can Be Used As Evidence?

California Supreme Court Rules:
Text Messages Sent on Private Government Employees Lines
Subject to Open Records Requests

case law: City of San Jose v. Superior CourtReleasing Private Text/Phone Records of Government  Employees

Public Records Practices After the San Jose Decision

The Decision Briefing Merits After the San Jose Decision

CPRA Public Records Act Data Request – Click Here

Here is the Public Records Service Act Portal for all of CALIFORNIA Click Here

Rules of AdmissibilityEvidence Admissibility

Confrontation ClauseSixth Amendment

Exceptions To The Hearsay RuleConfronting Evidence

Prosecutor’s Obligation to Disclose Exculpatory Evidence

Successful Brady/Napue Cases Suppression of Evidence

Cases Remanded or Hearing Granted Based on Brady/Napue Claims

Unsuccessful But Instructive Brady/Napue Cases

ABA – Functions and Duties of the ProsecutorProsecution Conduct

Frivolous, Meritless or Malicious Prosecution – fiduciary duty

 


Appealing/Contesting Case/Order/Judgment/Charge/ Suppressing Evidence

First Things First: What Can Be Appealed and What it Takes to Get StartedClick Here

Options to Appealing– Fighting A Judgment Without Filing An Appeal Settlement Or Mediation 

Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1008 Motion to Reconsider

Penal Code 1385Dismissal of the Action for Want of Prosecution or Otherwise

Penal Code 1538.5Motion To Suppress Evidence in a California Criminal Case

CACI No. 1501 – Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings

Penal Code “995 Motions” in California –  Motion to Dismiss

WIC § 700.1If Court Grants Motion to Suppress as Evidence

Suppression Of Exculpatory Evidence / Presentation Of False Or Misleading Evidence – Click Here

Notice of Appeal Felony (Defendant) (CR-120)  1237, 1237.5, 1538.5(m) – Click Here

California Motions in LimineWhat is a Motion in Limine?


Cleaning Up Your Record

Penal Code 851.8 PCCertificate of Factual Innocence in California

Petition to Seal and Destroy Adult Arrest RecordsDownload the PC 851.8 BCIA 8270 Form Here

SB 393: The Consumer Arrest Record Equity Act851.87 – 851.92  & 1000.4 – 11105CARE ACT

Expungement California – How to Clear Criminal Records Under Penal Code 1203.4 PC

How to Vacate a Criminal Conviction in CaliforniaPenal Code 1473.7 PC

Seal & Destroy a Criminal Record

Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record in California (focus OC County)

Governor Pardons – What Does A Governor’s Pardon Do

How to Get a Sentence Commuted (Executive Clemency) in California

How to Reduce a Felony to a MisdemeanorPenal Code 17b PC Motion


 Epic Criminal / Civil Right$ SCOTUS Help Click Here

At issue in Rosenfeld v. New Jersey (1972) was whether a conviction under state law prohibiting profane language in a public place violated a man's First Amendment's protection of free speech. The Supreme Court vacated the man's conviction and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of its recent rulings about fighting words. The man had used profane language at a public school board meeting. (Illustration via Pixabay, public domain) Epic Parents SCOTUS Ruling Parental Right$ Help Click Here

Judge’s & Prosecutor’s Jurisdiction– SCOTUS RULINGS on

Prosecutional Misconduct – SCOTUS Rulings re: Prosecutors

 


Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards

Download Here this Recommended Citation


Please take time to learn new UPCOMING 

The PROPOSED Parental Rights Amendment
to the US CONSTITUTION Click Here to visit their site

The proposed Parental Rights Amendment will specifically add parental rights in the text of the U.S. Constitution, protecting these rights for both current and future generations.

The Parental Rights Amendment is currently in the U.S. Senate, and is being introduced in the U.S. House.