b Whether the Jurys Award of 1 Million in Punitive Damages Should Be Restored

B whether the jurys award of 1 million in punitive

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(b) Whether the Jury's Award of $1 Million in Punitive Damages Should Be Restored 107 In Hill, supra, Cory J., while emphasizing the overriding obligation of rationality, also recognized that the jury must be given some leeway to do its job. The issue of punitive damages, after all, is a matter that has been confided in the first instance to their discretion. Thus, to be reversed, their award of punitive damages must be "so inordinately large as obviously to exceed the maximum limit of a reasonable range within which the jury may properly operate" (para. 159). Putting these two notions together, the test is whether a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could have concluded that an award in that amount, and no less, was rationally required to punish the defendant's misconduct. 108 This test provides an appellate court with supervisory powers over punitive damages that are more interventionist than in the case of other jury awards of general damages, where the courts may only intervene if the award is "so exorbitant or so grossly out of proportion [to the injury] as to shock the court's conscience and sense of justice" (Hill, supra, at para. 159; Walker v. CFTO Ltd. (1987), 59 O.R. (2d) 104 (C.A.)). In the case of punitive damages, the emphasis is on the appellate court's obligation [page650] to ensure that the award is the product of reason and rationality. The focus is on whether the court's sense of reason is offended rather than on whether its conscience is shocked. 109 If the award of punitive damages, when added to the compensatory damages, produces a total sum that is so "inordinately large" that it exceeds what is "rationally" required to punish the defendant, it will be reduced or set aside on appeal. 110 An award that is higher than required to fulfil its purpose is, by definition, irrational. The more difficult task is to determine what is "inordinate". Here, I think, the Court must come to grips with the issue of proportionality. 111 I earlier referred to proportionality as the key to the permissible quantum of punitive damages. Retribution, denunciation and deterrence are the recognized justification for punitive damages, and the means must be rationally proportionate to the end sought to be achieved. A disproportionate award overshoots its purpose and becomes irrational. A less than proportionate award fails to achieve its purpose. Thus a proper award must look at proportionality in several dimensions, including: (i) Proportionate to the Blameworthiness of the Defendant's Conduct 112 The more reprehensible the conduct, the higher the rational limits to the potential award. The need for denunciation is aggravated where, as in this case, the conduct is persisted in over a lengthy period of time (two years to trial) without any rational justification, and despite the defendant's awareness of the hardship it knew it was inflicting (indeed, the respondent anticipated that the greater the hardship to the appellant, the lower the settlement she would ultimately be forced to accept).
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