Punitive Damages in Commercial Litigation: Pursuing and Defending Claims

Leveraging Pre-trial Motions, Discovery and Trial Strategies, Navigating Constitutional Restraints

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide litigators with guidance on the oftentimes controversial and complex punitive damage claim. Hear from experienced litigators as they discuss techniques in seeking and defending punitive damage claims in commercial litigation.


Punitive damages are becoming a tool in commercial litigation as a deterrent to bad behavior. As such, the legal framework has become increasingly complex. Counsel must be aware of the intricacies involved in pursuing punitive damages as well as defending against them.

The courts have systematically made the pursuit of punitive damages difficult. The movant must be knowledgeable of the standards of proof, constitutional constraints and be able to survive appellate review of a punitive damage award. Counsel to a party either seeking or trying to prevent punitive damages must be aware of the most current court analysis and adjust strategies accordingly.

A thorough assessment of the validity of the claim for punitives is the key on either side to determine the most advantageous approach. Attendees will learn the appropriate use of pre-trial motions, discovery and when it is advantageous to proceed to the jury.

Listen as our distinguished panel reviews the issues involved in seeking and defending against punitive damage claims. The panel will review the causes of action which can and cannot support such an award, constitutional standards, and trial tactics for defeating a claim.



  1. Constitutional standards and constraints
  2. Pursuing punitive damages awards
    1. Causes of action
    2. Surviving dispositive motions
    3. Surviving appellate review of an award of punitive damages
  3. Defending punitive damage claims
    1. Pre-trial dispositive motions
    2. Leveraging discovery
    3. Other defense tactics


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the bases for a successful punitive damage demand?
  • How does the Constitution limit punitive damage claims?
  • What pre-trial techniques can be implemented in defending against a claim for punitive damages?
  • What should be the focus of discovery when defending a claim that includes a demand for punitive damages?
  • Under what circumstances should these issues proceed to the jury?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Derek E. Diaz
Derek E. Diaz

Hahn Loeser

Mr. Diaz is co-chair of Hahn Loeser's Appellate Group and is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a...  |  Read More

Robert B. Port
Robert B. Port

Hahn Loeser

Mr. Port has significant experience in business tort litigation, including breach of contract, tortious interference...  |  Read More

John Zavitsanos
John Zavitsanos


Mr. Zavitsanos has tried more than 75 cases to verdict involving matters such as financial services, complex...  |  Read More

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