Tarr v. Bob Ciasulli’s Mack Auto Mall, Inc., 194 N.J. 212 (N.J. 2008) – In this sexual harassment case, the Supreme Court considered whether the Legislature, in enacting the Punitive Damages Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.9 to 5.17, intended punitive damage awards to focus only on deterrence of the specific defendant that committed the wrongdoing, as opposed to deterrence “of others” generally. The Court held that, in fixing the amount of a punitive damages award, a jury may aim only for deterrence of the specific defendant. This decision is favorable to employers, as it may limit the amount of punitive damages awarded.
Note: This article was published in the May 2008 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.