2014 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 23. Damages
§23-9.1. Punitive damages awards by jury.

23 OK Stat § 23-9.1 (2014) What's This?

A. In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, the jury, in addition to actual damages, may, subject to the provisions and limitations in subsections B, C and D of this section, award punitive damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant based upon the following factors:

1. The seriousness of the hazard to the public arising from the defendant's misconduct;

2. The profitability of the misconduct to the defendant;

3. The duration of the misconduct and any concealment of it;

4. The degree of the defendant's awareness of the hazard and of its excessiveness;

5. The attitude and conduct of the defendant upon discovery of the misconduct or hazard;

6. In the case of a defendant which is a corporation or other entity, the number and level of employees involved in causing or concealing the misconduct; and

7. The financial condition of the defendant.

B. Category I. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

1. The defendant has been guilty of reckless disregard for the rights of others; or

2. An insurer has recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with its insured; the jury, in a separate proceeding conducted after the jury has made such finding and awarded actual damages, may award punitive damages in an amount not to exceed the greater of:

a.One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), or

b.the amount of the actual damages awarded.

Any award of punitive damages under this subsection awarded in any manner other than as required in this subsection shall be void and reversible error.

C. Category II. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

1. The defendant has acted intentionally and with malice towards others; or

2. An insurer has intentionally and with malice breached its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with its insured;

the jury, in a separate proceeding conducted after the jury has made such finding and awarded actual damages, may award punitive damages in an amount not to exceed the greatest of:

a.Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00),

b.twice the amount of actual damages awarded, or

c.the increased financial benefit derived by the defendant or insurer as a direct result of the conduct causing the injury to the plaintiff and other persons or entities.

The trial court shall reduce any award for punitive damages awarded pursuant to the provisions of subparagraph c of this paragraph by the amount it finds the defendant or insurer has previously paid as a result of all punitive damage verdicts entered in any court of this state for the same conduct by the defendant or insurer. Any award of punitive damages under this subsection awarded in any manner other than as required in this subsection shall be void and reversible error.

D. Category III. Where the jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

1. The defendant has acted intentionally and with malice towards others; or

2. An insurer has intentionally and with malice breached its duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with its insured; and the court finds, on the record and out of the presence of the jury, that there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant or insurer acted intentionally and with malice and engaged in conduct life-threatening to humans,

the jury, in a separate proceeding conducted after the jury has made such finding and awarded actual damages, may award punitive damages in any amount the jury deems appropriate, without regard to the limitations set forth in subsections B and C of this section. Any award of punitive damages under this subsection awarded in any manner other than as required in this subsection shall be void and reversible error.

E. In determining the amount, if any, of punitive damages to be awarded under either subsection B, C or D of this section, the jury shall make the award based upon the factors set forth in subsection A of this section.

F. The provisions of this section are severable, and if any part or provision thereof shall be held void, the decision of the court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining parts or provisions thereof.

G. This section shall apply to all civil actions filed after the effective date of this act.

Added by Laws 1995, c. 287, § 2. Amended by Laws 2002, c. 462, § 1, eff. July 1, 2002.

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