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Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co., 2002 SCC 18

Facts:

Fire burnt down Ps house. D refuses to pay saying they torched their own house. This is what the fire chiefs claimed. Jury found arson claim was unsustainable and in bad faith

Issue(s):

Should punitive damages be awarded, and if so, what amount?

Ratio:

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where there was a duty to act in good faith. You must have bad faith to get punitive damages. (Gets around actionable wrong – just breach of good faith is a wrong).
Damages have to be proportional to the judgment and it must also be rational.

Analysis:

3 objectives of punitive damages:
*Punishment
*Deterrence
*Denunciation
Punitive damages can be awarded in the absence of an accompanying tort.

Holding:

This is an exceptional case that justified exceptional remedy – 1 million punitive damages


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