In the case of Pickering v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 265 Ill. App. 3d 806, the plaintiff sought punitive damages against the defendant for the defendant’s failure to warn consumers of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure. Punitive damages are damages awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and to deter similar conduct in the future.
In this case, the plaintiff sought to discover the net worth of the defendant as part of their efforts to establish punitive damages. The defendant objected to the request for net worth discovery, arguing that it was irrelevant to the issue of punitive damages and that it was overly burdensome and intrusive.
The court held that net worth discovery was relevant to the issue of punitive damages and that the defendant had a duty to disclose its net worth. The court noted that punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and that the amount of punitive damages awarded should be proportionate to the defendant’s ability to pay. The court also noted that net worth discovery is a common practice in cases involving punitive damages.
The court further held that the plaintiff’s request for net worth discovery was not overly burdensome or intrusive. The court noted that the plaintiff had tailored their request to seek only relevant information and that the defendant could protect its confidential information through appropriate measures, such as a protective order.
The court’s decision in Pickering v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. highlights the importance of net worth discovery in cases involving punitive damages. It also emphasizes the importance of proportionality in awarding punitive damages and the need for defendants to disclose their net worth to ensure that punitive damages are proportional to the defendant’s ability to pay.
Overall, net worth discovery plays an important role in cases involving punitive damages and is a valuable tool for plaintiffs seeking to hold defendants accountable for their wrongful conduct. It ensures that punitive damages are proportional to the defendant’s ability to pay and helps to deter similar conduct in the future.
If you are a victim of fraud, shareholder or LLC member oppression or breach of fiduciary duty contact one of our Highland Park, Chicago or Schaumburg breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression or business fraud attorneys for a free consultation at 630-710-4990.