Punitive damage claim in Yeardley Love case to be limited to $350,000.00.
Those of us in Virginia could not have helped but follow the tragic case of the death of Yeardley Love just before her graduation. In fact her former boyfriend, George Huguely was recently convicted of second degree murder and grand larceny in connection with her death.
Now, Love's estate has filed a civil lawsuit against Huguely for her death.
The lawsuit itself is quite interesting. It does not contend that Huguely deliberately murdered the ex‑UVA lacrosse player but instead alleged that he acted with such indifference to Love that his conduct constituted an utter disregard of caution amounting to a complete neglect of safety for Love.
The lawsuit seeks over $29 million in compensatory damages but only $1 million in punitive damages.
According to Virginia law however the most that Yeardley's estate can collect in punitive damages is $350,000.00. That is, no matter what a civil jury may find in terms of Huguely's culpability for his acts, the most they can ever punish him with is a verdict of $350,000.00 in punitive damages.
The compensatory damages are of course unlimited but it is unlikely that Huguely has much in the way of personal assets of his own. It may well be however that Yeardley's estate lawyers attempt to get at any homeowner's policy which covers "negligence" that Huguely or his family have.
The Love estate is represented by Mahlon Funk.
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