The jury awarded $ 50,000.00 as punitive damages. Having determined the facts in plaintiff's favor under the evidence it seems to the Court that an award for punitive damages was bound to follow. On this phase of the case the Court charged the jury in part at p. 1696 as follows:
'In assessing damages, the trier of the facts can properly consider the character of the defendant's act, the nature and extent of the harm to the plaintiff the defendant caused or intended to cause and the wealth of the defendant. The purpose of awarding punitive damages or exemplary damages as they are previously called is to punish the person doing the wrongful act and to discourage such person and others from similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages are awarded only for outrageous conduct; that is, for acts done with bad motive or reckless indifference to the interests of others.
'That 'reckless indifference' might be what would happen to a Chrysler dealer if they took over in the manner in which the plaintiff says they did.
'That is the definition of it, and of course you are not bound to award it. You may award it. The sum is up to you.'
The charge to the jury on punitive damages was taken practically verbatim from the Restatement of the Law -- Torts, Section 908. The law of Pennsylvania seems clear that under the factual situation presented in the instant case punitive damages are allowable. See Stone v. C.I.T. Corporation, 122 Pa.Super. 71, 184 A. 674, 1936; Voltz v. General Motors Acceptance Corporation, 332 Pa. 141, 2 A.2d 697, 1938; Givens v. W. J. Gilmore Drug Company, 337 Pa. 278, 10 A.2d 12, 1940.
Under the facts in this case as shown by all of the evidence the amount of the exemplary damages is regarded as being reasonable and will not be disturbed.
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO AMEND THE JUDGMENT TO INCLUDE INTEREST ON THE AMOUNT THE JURY AWARDED ON THE COUNTERCLAIM
A great deal of oral and documentary testimony was directed to the amount the security instruments showed plaintiff owed defendant, and plaintiff's claim of offset against the amounts due as shown on the face of the paper. Plaintiff at no time denied the amounts due on the face of various instruments held by defendant. He did, however, claim offsets and deductions. These figures came out in the evidence and were argued by counsel to the jury in their summations and it seems to the court that the jury had these figures in mind and came to a reasonable conclusion in its verdicts by awarding plaintiff compensatory damages for the destruction of his business and at the same time it awarded defendant the full amount asserted in its counterclaim as shown under defendant's evidence. The jury was charged as requested by the defendant with respect to the amount due on the counterclaim. Defendant's 39th request for charge was granted. At p. 1691 the jury was charged that they might find for the defendant on the counterclaim, in the sum of $ 48,674.90, with interest from November 29, 1960. I now think that the instruction in defendant's favor with respect to recovery for losses on sales of new cars and for expenses of selling new and used cars was erroneous. That matter will be mentioned in some detail hereafter.
When the counterclaim verdict came in the jury wrote on the verdict slip a finding for 'the plaintiff for the amount asked for'. That verdict was molded and the judgment entered for $ 48,674.90. I think under the circumstances that the Court should have added interest and defendant's motion is that the judgment be amended to include the interest from November 29, 1960. This motion will be granted in part. Defendant's other motions are refused.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL
In this motion plaintiff contends the most it owed defendant under the evidence was $ 22,257.87. The point is that if that is correct then the amount of the counterclaim is reduced and because of a loss item the most that it should be charged against the $ 55,000.00 verdict is the sum of $ 16,121.17. In the alternative, says plaintiff, a new trial should be had with regard to the counterclaim.
The amount the jury awarded defendant on the counterclaim was computed as follows:
1. Capital loan $ 12,400.00
2. Nine new cars S.O.T. 25,637.53
3. Losses on sales of
new cars 9,378.16
4. Expenses of selling
new and used cars 1,259.21
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