There are 4 categories of defamation per se:
Imputing to another: a criminal offense amounting to a felony; a presently existing venereal disease or other loathsome and communicable disease; Imputing to a woman, acts of unchastity; Imputing to another conduct, characteristics or a condition incompatible with the proper exercise of his lawful business, trade, profession, or office. These allow the award of punitive damages without any other damages.
If it is not defamation per se, but is still defamation, the court can still award punitives if there are actual damages to the plaintiff.
In order to prevail on a punitive damage claim the plaintiff must show:defendant's conduct was
(1) of gross and flagrant character, evincing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects; (2) of such entire want of care that would raise the presumption of conscious indifference; (3) that shows wantonness or recklessness or a grossly careless disregard for the public’s safety and welfare; or (4) reckless indifference to the rights of others that is equivalent to an intentional violation of those rights.
Pursuant to Florida statute 768.72 a plaintiff is not permitted to assert punitive damages in a Complaint without first seeking leave to amend because the defendant has a substantive legal right not to be subjected to that claim and financial worth discovery (since punitives are based on their net worth since they are designed to punish) until the trial court determines a reasonable basis for the discovery of punitive damages.
That statute is here:
If plaintiff wishes to amend the complaint to include that claim, discovery is conducted as soon as possible to establish record facts that will support the claim. Then the plaintiff files a motion to amend. At the motion the plaintiff presents facts or evidence that substantiates the claim for punitive damages. Once the court determines that there is a reasonable basis to recover punitive damages, then plaintiff will be allowed to amend and to discover the defendant’s financial worth.
I hope this helps! kindly rate 5 stars if you feel I have earned it.
Further questions? Please post here to continue the chat.
Satisfied? Kindly rate positively so I receive credit for assisting you. I hope that you feel I have earned
5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟*****
as I strive to provide my customers with great service. ☺️
(no additional charges are incurred).
Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.