4.  a.  Punitive damages may be awarded to the plaintiff only if the plaintiff proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the harm suffered was the result of the defendant‘s acts or omissions, and such acts or omissions were actuated by actual malice or accompanied by a wanton and willful disregard of persons who foreseeably might be harmed by those acts or omissions.  This burden of proof may not be satisfied by proof of any degree of negligence including gross negligence. 

  b.  In determining whether punitive damages are to be awarded, the trier of fact shall consider all relevant evidence, including but not limited to, the following: 

Terms Used In New Jersey Statutes 2A:15-5.12

  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.

  (1)  The likelihood, at the relevant time, that serious harm would arise from the defendant’s conduct; 

  (2)  The defendant’s awareness of reckless disregard of the likelihood that the serious harm at issue would arise from the defendant’s conduct; 

  (3)  The conduct of the defendant upon learning that its initial conduct would likely cause harm; and 

  (4)  The duration of the conduct or any concealment of it by the defendant.

 

  c.  If the trier of fact determines that punitive damages should be awarded, the trier of fact shall then determine the amount of those damages. In making that determination, the trier of fact shall consider all relevant evidence, including, but not limited to, the following: 

  (1)  All relevant evidence relating to the factors set forth in subsection b. of this section; 

  (2)  The profitability of the misconduct to the defendant;

 

  (3)  When the misconduct was terminated; and

 

  (4)  The financial condition of the defendant.

 

  L.1995,c.142,s.4.