Monthly Archives: December 2011

Vickery v. Evans, 10SC281 (Dec. 12, 2011)

A family fight with the in-laws ends with a punitive damages award, the amount of which is increased by adding prejudgment interest to the compensatory damages, to get “actual damages.” After contentious litigation between a wife and her late husband’s mother over his estate, the wife successfully sued her mother-in-law for malicious prosecution and defamation. She also won punitive damages. The trial court capped punitive damages to equal compensatory damages before adding prejudgment interest.  The court of appeals affirmed, but the Supreme Court reversed. The Court held that prejudgment interest should be added to compensatory damages, to get the “actual damages” paid by a defendant.  Punitive damages are then statutorily limited to an amount equal to actual damages.

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