>In article <[email protected]> ,
>[email protected] (The Fat Man) wrote:
>> 19 THE COURT: Do we then ask, does it make a
>> 20 difference? Do we ask the jury, for example, to
>> 21 tell us whether or not the act -- assuming it ever
>> 22 gets to the jury, because there is a distinction
>> 23 between a person and a corporation, whether it's the
>> 24 church or whoever it is, do we ask them to tell us
>> 25 whether the act was intentionally done versus
>> 1 culpably negligently done versus grossly done?
>> 2 MR. DANDAR: Yes. We ask for all three, and
>> 3 they check off which one --
>> 4 THE COURT: Is there a difference as far as the
>> 5 First Amendment in punitive damages? There really
>> 6 isn't a difference as to punitive damages except for
>> 7 perhaps the amount and whether or not there is a
>> 8 limitation. That is why we might ask that. But is
>> 9 there a difference as far as the First Amendment?
>> 10 MR. DANDAR: No, not under First Amendment
>> 11 there is no difference.
>> 12 Under due process there is a difference because
>> 13 of the BMW case. Under Florida Statutes on
>> 14 punitives there is a cap of three times unless it's
>> 15 intentional. If it's intentional, there is no cap.
>> 16 THE COURT: So you want to know the answer as
>> 17 to whether or not there is a cap, not because in one
>> 18 instance the Church might be liable and in another
>> 19 instance it might be prohibited by RFRA, First
>> 20 Amendment.
>> 21 In your mind, your argument, if I understand it
>> 22 correctly, is once the Florida Supreme Court makes a
>> 23 decision that if it's a neutral tort law, that then
>> 24 you apply tort application and it doesn't really
>> 25 matter. If punitive damages apply, they apply.
>> 1 MR. DANDAR: Right.
>That cap of three times if it isnt'ruled as intentional neglect, on what
>is that amount based? On Lisa's 'Net accumulations' that was estimated to
>be over $1 million?
Yes. The money that she would have saved for the rest of her life, plus the expenses for her funeral. http://www.no-smoking.org/may97/5-9-97-3.html
The three times rule is a florida law that Deana and her pals "forgot" to mention, even after I specifically asked for it.
768.73 Punitive damages; limitation.--
(1)(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c), an award of punitive damages may not exceed the greater of:
1. Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant entitled thereto, consistent with the remaining provisions of this section; or
2. The sum of $500,000.
(b) Where the fact finder determines that the wrongful conduct proven under this section was motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain and determines that the unreasonably dangerous nature of the conduct, together with the high likelihood of injury resulting from the conduct, was actually known by the managing agent, director, officer, or other person responsible for making policy decisions on behalf of the defendant, it may award an amount of punitive damages not to exceed the greater of:
1. Four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant entitled thereto, consistent with the remaining provisions of this section; or
2. The sum of $2 million.
(c) Where the fact finder determines that at the time of injury the defendant had a specific intent to harm the claimant and determines that the defendant's conduct did in fact harm the claimant, there shall be no cap on punitive damages.
(d) This subsection is not intended to prohibit an appropriate court from exercising its jurisdiction under s. 768.74 in determining the reasonableness of an award of punitive damages that is less than three times the amount of compensatory damages.
(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), punitive damages may not be awarded against a defendant in a civil action if that defendant establishes, before trial, that punitive damages have previously been awarded against that defendant in any state or federal court in any action alleging harm from the same act or single course of conduct for which the claimant seeks compensatory damages. For purposes of a civil action, the term "the same act or single course of conduct" includes acts resulting in the same manufacturing defects, acts resulting in the same defects in design, or failure to warn of the same hazards, with respect to similar units of a product.
(b) In subsequent civil actions involving the same act or single course of conduct for which punitive damages have already been awarded, if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the amount of prior punitive damages awarded was insufficient to punish that defendant's behavior, the court may permit a jury to consider an award of subsequent punitive damages. In permitting a jury to consider awarding subsequent punitive damages, the court shall make specific findings of fact in the record to support its conclusion. In addition, the court may consider whether the defendant's act or course of conduct has ceased. Any subsequent punitive damage awards must be reduced by the amount of any earlier punitive damage awards rendered in state or federal court.
(3) The claimant attorney's fees, if payable from the judgment, are, to the extent that the fees are based on the punitive damages, calculated based on the final judgment for punitive damages. This subsection does not limit the payment of attorney's fees based upon an award of damages other than punitive damages.
(4) The jury may neither be instructed nor informed as to the provisions of this section.
(5) The provisions of this section shall be applied to all causes of action arising after the effective date of this act.
So what Dandar needs to prove - and I hope he succeeds - is that scientology had a specific intent to harm Lisa and the jury determines that scientology's conduct did in fact harm Lisa.
Scientology's trial strategy will probably be that their "parishioners" didn't know what they were doing and that they "honestly" believed that they were "caring" for Lisa.
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