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The purpose of punitive damages is to punish a defendant and to deter a defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future.
Plaintiff has the burden of proving that punitive damages should be awarded, and the amount, by a preponderance of the evidence. punitive damages may be awarded only if defendant's conduct was malicious, or in reckless disregard of plaintiff's rights.
Conduct is malicious if it is accompanied by ill will, or spite, or if it is for the purpose of injuring another.
Conduct is in reckless disregard of plaintiff's rights if, under the circumstances, it reflects complete indifference to the safety and rights of others.