New York Law Journal Publishes Yankwitt LLP’s Analysis of the Often-Empty Threat of Punitive Damages in Westchester County
The New York Law Journal recently published the revealing Yankwitt LLP article, “All Bark but Rarely a Bite: A Recent Survey of the Often-Empty Threat of Punitive Damages in Westchester County,” written by Managing Partner Russell Yankwitt and law clerk Connor Hilbie.
Analyzing cases decided over the past five years by the state and federal judges sitting in Westchester County, the authors found that the number of cases in which punitive damages were awarded represented a minuscule percentage of the overall cases in which such damages were sought. The common denominator among the few cases where punitive damages were granted was a shocking level of moral turpitude underlying the conduct at issue.
The findings, though not surprising to defense counsel, confirm that the ever-looming threat of punitive damages is little more than a scare tactic used by plaintiff’s lawyers to intimidate defendants or gain leverage in litigation; in reality, they are rarely awarded by a judge or jury.