punitive damages

plural noun

Definition of punitive damages 

: damages awarded in excess of compensation to the plaintiff to punish a defendant for a serious wrong

Examples of punitive damages in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In all, jurors awarded more than $50 million to 10 plaintiffs who live near the hog farm, setting compensatory damages at $75,000 and punitive damages at $5 million for each plaintiff. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Jury Awards Neighbors of North Carolina Hog Farm $50 Million In Nuisance Case," 26 Apr. 2018 Barriss isn't named as a defendant in the Finch family's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita, which seeks unspecified real and punitive damages at a jury trial. NBC News, "Wichita officer who killed Andrew Finch in 'swatting' mistake won't be charged," 13 Apr. 2018 The accusers are seeking an unspecified monetary judgment against the defendants, as well as a jury trial and punitive damages for emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, pain and suffering. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Another woman says a former Louisville police officer raped her. She's the fourth.," 29 Jan. 2018 Kithier's lawyers were seeking eligibility and punitive damages in the lawsuit, although Fishman said money was not a motivating factor. Keith Dunlap, Detroit Free Press, "Thomas Kithier remains ineligible after judge denies injunction," 11 Jan. 2018 The jury awarded $550 million and later added $4.14 billion in punitive damages against the company for allegedly failing to warn that its talcum powder raised the risk of ovarian cancer. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "The Score: The Business Week in 7 Stocks," 13 July 2018 It was comprised of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages. NBC News, "Johnson & Johnson told to pay $4.7 billion in baby powder case," 13 July 2018 The jury announced the $4.14 billion award in punitive damages shortly after awarding $550 million in compensatory damages after a six-week trial in St. Louis Circuit Court. USA TODAY, "Nearly $4.7 billion awarded in Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuit," 12 July 2018 But the judge slashed the punitive damages to a total of $2.5 million, citing a state law that limits the punishment for corporate misdeeds. Washington Post, "Cases against pork giant continue after big penalty slashed," 27 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punitive damages.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of punitive damages

1858, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

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The first known use of punitive damages was in 1858

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More Definitions for punitive damages

punitive damages

Legal Definition of punitive damages 

see damage sense 2

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