Punitive Damages Against Deceased Person

By HSK, July 31, 2014

The Fifth District Court of Appeals has recently held that a deceased person can be held liable for punitive damages, and that the money owed could be collected against the deceased person’s probate estate.  In what the court termed as a case of first impression in Ohio, it decided that the propriety of permitting a punitive damage award to be assessed against a deceased person made more sense than denying such a result.  The court’s most compelling point, in this writer’s opinion, was that the beneficiaries of the estate should not get a distribution of money that survived going to a violated person simply because the wrongdoer died during the suit.  It makes good sense to me.  The court noted that if the decedent had not died the money would certainly have been owed.

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