South Carolina Enacts Punitive Damages Caps
Effective January 1, 2012, South Carolina will limit punitive damage awards in most cases. Under Section 15-32-510 et. seq., punitive damage must be specifically prayed for in a complaint and will result in bi-furcated trials. Additionally, damages will be limited to the greater of 3 times compensatory damages or $500,000 in cases where the jury finds that the conduct was NOT motivated by (1) unreasonable financial gain involving unreasonably dangerous conduct of a corporation which was known by the officer or person responsible for making policy decisons or (2) the actions could subject the defendant to a felony conviction. In those cases where the jury finds that activity, then punitive damages are limited to the greater of 4 times the compensatory damages or $2,000,000. In cases involving drugs or alcohol, intentional harmful acts, or prior felony conviction for the same conduct, there is no cap on punitive damages.