State Defends Indiana Punitive Damages Law

December 14, 2012

State attorneys are defending Indiana’s punitive damages limit against a man who won a $150,000 jury award against a Roman Catholic priest he alleged sexually abused him when he was 17.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office asked the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday to set aside a Marion County judge’s decision that ruled the law violated the state constitution.

Indiana’s law limits punitive damages to $50,000 and allows the state to take a three-quarter share.

Attorneys for the man referred to as John Doe say the law intrudes on judicial power and violates the right to trial by jury.

The state argues that the justices previously upheld the law and since plaintiffs don’t have an inherent right to punitive damages, the state can limit the amount and claim a share.

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