Tuesday, February 05, 2008, 5:57 PM

Split COA Reinstates Punitive Damage Award In Malicious Prosecution Case

Today in Scarborough v. Dillard's Inc. the Court of Appeals (COA) reinstated a punitive damage award in a malicious prosecution case. Dillard's accused plaintiff, a former part-time employee in its shoe department, of misconduct (after he failed to charge a woman for two pair of shoes); that accusation led to a failed embezzlement prosecution against plaintiff by the district attorney, a prosecution instigated by a Dillard's loss-prevention employee who also was a full-time officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The jury awarded plaintiff $77,000 in punitive damages, but the trial judge granted Dillard's JNOV on punitive damages after concluding there was insuffience evidence to support the award. The COA, in a decision by Judge Wynn, reversed.

Judge Hunter dissented. He accused the majority of disregarding the heightened standard of proof for punitive damages: clear and convincing evidence.

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