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Florida Fourth DCA denies corporate defendant’s certiorari petition objecting to trial court order allowing prosecution of punitive damages claim; inclusion of claim was permissible because it was based on alleged direct, rather than vicarious, liability o

On April 24, 2019, in The Event Depot Corp. v. Frank, No. 4D18-2306, the Florida Fourth DCA denied a corporate defendant’s certiorari petition objecting to a trial court order allowing a punitive damages claim to be added to the plaintiff’s complaint.  The defendant maintained that the punitive damages claim should not have been allowed  because § 768.72(3), Florida Statutes, prohibits such a claim against a corporation based on the conduct of a corporate employee, except in specific enumerated circumstances not present in this case. However, the Fourth DCA found § 768.72(3) inapposite because the plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend to seek the punitive damages did not allege liability of the corporation based on the conduct of any particular employee or agent, but on the corporation’s alleged act of placing the allegedly defective product, a swing, into the stream of commerce without a safety harness, instruction manual and adequate safety training. 

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