Am Jur 2d - Damages § 567

V. Exemplary or Punitive Damages, C. Prerequisites to Recovery, 1. In General; Independent Cause of Action, § 567 - Generally

The foundational requirement for punitive damages is that some legally protected interest has been invaded.[1] Also, as a rule, there is no cause of action for punitive damages by itself;[2] a punitive-damages claim is not a separate or independent cause of action.[3] Rather, a punitive-damages award is an element of recovery,[4] a type of relief,[5] or an additional remedy.[6] Punitive damages are a derivative sort of damages[7] awarded as a mere incident of the cause of action in which they are sought.[8] As a remedy,[9] punitive damages must be requested in conjunction with a cognizable[10] or valid underlying[11] cause of action. They have been described as parasitic[12] in the sense that they cannot be awarded until a plaintiff proves an underlying cause of action.[13]

Cases:

Mortgagor could not recover punitive damages from mortgagee, where he failed to assert an underlying claim upon which a demand for punitive damages could be grounded. BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP v. McCombie, 133 A.D.3d 1252, 20 N.Y.S.3d 276 (4th Dep't 2015) .

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1   Trees v. Kersey, 138 Idaho 3, 56 P.3d 765 (2002) .

2   Watson v. Dixon, 352 N.C. 343, 532 S.E.2d 175, 146 Ed. Law Rep. 555 (2000) ; Bird v. Rozier, 948 P.2d 888 (Wyo. 1997) .
 A punitive-damages claim cannot stand alone from a compensatory-damages claim. DeNardo v. GCI Communication Corp., 983 P.2d 1288 (Alaska 1999) ; Cheatham v. Pohle, 789 N.E.2d 467 (Ind. 2003) .

3   South Port Marine, LLC v. Gulf Oil Ltd. Partnership, 234 F.3d 58 (1st Cir. 2000) ; Byrne v. Nezhat, 261 F.3d 1075, 50 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 1350 (11th Cir. 2001) ; Reid v. Plainsboro Partners, III, 2010-Ohio-4373, 2010 WL 3610931 (Ohio Ct. App. 10th Dist. Franklin County 2010); Norman v. Arnold, 2002 UT 81, 57 P.3d 997 (Utah 2002) ; Errington v. Zolessi, 9 P.3d 966 (Wyo. 2000) .
 An independent cause of action for punitive damages is not recognized under New York law. Nocella v. Fort Dearborn Life Ins. Co. of New York, 99 A.D.3d 872, 955 N.Y.S.2d 66 (2d Dep't 2012) .

4   Gould v. Starr, 558 S.W.2d 755 (Mo. Ct. App. 1977) ; APS Food Systems, Inc. v. Ward Foods, Inc., 70 A.D.2d 483, 421 N.Y.S.2d 223, 27 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 1381 (1st Dep't 1979) .

5   Kleinwort Benson North America, Inc. v. Quantum Financial Services, Inc., 181 Ill. 2d 214, 229 Ill. Dec. 496, 692 N.E.2d 269 (1998) ; In re Vajgrt, 801 N.W.2d 570 (Iowa 2011) .

6   South Port Marine, LLC v. Gulf Oil Ltd. Partnership, 234 F.3d 58 (1st Cir. 2000) ; DeBry v. Cascade Enterprises, 879 P.2d 1353 (Utah 1994) .

7   Mann v. Taser Intern., Inc., 588 F.3d 1291 (11th Cir. 2009) (applying Georgia law) ; Edmond v. Fairfield Sunrise Village, Inc., 132 Ariz. 142, 644 P.2d 296 (Ct. App. Div. 2 1982) .

8   Collier v. Bryant, 719 S.E.2d 70 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011) ; Kill v. CSX Transp., 185 Ohio App. 3d 291, 2009-Ohio-6871, 923 N.E.2d 1199 (3d Dist. Allen County 2009) ; Harwick v. Dye, 1999 OK 8, 975 P.2d 453 (Okla. 1999) ; Weston v. Northampton Personal Care, Inc., 2013 PA Super 14, 62 A.3d 947 (2013) .
 A claim for punitive damages is purely incidental to a separate cause of action. Fisher v. Grove Farm Co., Inc., 123 Haw. 82, 230 P.3d 382 (Ct. App. 2009) .

9   Fisher v. Grove Farm Co., Inc., 123 Haw. 82, 230 P.3d 382 (Ct. App. 2009) ; Vincent v. Alden-Park Strathmoor, Inc., 241 Ill. 2d 495, 350 Ill. Dec. 330, 948 N.E.2d 610 (2011) ; Norman v. Arnold, 2002 UT 81, 57 P.3d 997 (Utah 2002) ; Hansen v. Texas Roadhouse, Inc., 2013 WI App 2, 345 Wis. 2d 669, 827 N.W.2d 99 (Ct. App. 2012) , review dismissed, (Jan. 30, 2013) and review dismissed, 2013 WI 22, 346 Wis. 2d 286, 827 N.W.2d 376 (2013) .

10   Perotti v. Corrections Corp. of America, 290 P.3d 403 (Alaska 2012) ; Norman v. Arnold, 2002 UT 81, 57 P.3d 997 (Utah 2002) .

11   South Port Marine, LLC v. Gulf Oil Ltd. Partnership, 234 F.3d 58 (1st Cir. 2000) ; Schmidt v. Stearman, 2010 Ark. App. 274, 374 S.W.3d 254 (2010) ; Roberts v. RMB Ents., Inc., 197 Ohio App. 3d 435, 2011-Ohio-6223, 967 N.E.2d 1263 (12th Dist. Butler County 2011) , appeal not allowed, 131 Ohio St. 3d 1499, 2012-Ohio-1501, 964 N.E.2d 440 (2012) .
 Certain causes of action, such as intentional torts, may provide for the recovery of punitive as well as compensatory damages. Byrne v. Nezhat, 261 F.3d 1075, 50 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 1350 (11th Cir. 2001) .

12   Brualdi v. IBERIA, 79 A.D.3d 959, 913 N.Y.S.2d 753 (2d Dep't 2010) .

13   Gaia Technologies Inc. v. Recycled Products Corp., 175 F.3d 365, 43 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 946 (5th Cir. 1999) ; Metroplex Corp. v. Thompson Industries, Inc., 25 Fed. Appx. 802 (10th Cir. 2002) (applying Pennsylvania law) ; Paulino v. QHG of Springdale, Inc., 2012 Ark. 55, 386 S.W.3d 462 (2012) ; Watson v. Dixon, 352 N.C. 343, 532 S.E.2d 175, 146 Ed. Law Rep. 555 (2000) ; Akin v. Santa Clara Land Co., Ltd., 34 S.W.3d 334 (Tex. App. San Antonio 2000) .

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