TRIAL COURT PROPERLY ALLOWED AMENDMENT FOR PUNITIVE DAMAGES
Bulk Express Transport, Inc. v. Diaz, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D1584 (Fla. 3rd DCA Jul. 27, 2022):
When an appellate court reviews an amendment seeking punitive damages, it only looks to see whether the trial court complied with the procedural requirements of Section 768.72. A defendant may not use certiorari to review a trial court’s determination that the plaintiff made a reasonable showing by evidence in the record to support the existence of a reasonable basis for the recovery of such damages. Appellate courts may not reweigh a trial court’s finding of a sufficient evidentiary basis for punitive damages claim on a petition for a writ of certiorari.
The court explained that it had to confine the scope of its certiorari review to whether the plaintiff proffered evidence to support a punitive damages claim.
Here, after two lengthy hearings involving the plaintiff’s proffer of evidence, the trial court ruled the proffer was sufficient to support the claim for punitive damages; a conclusion that allows the amendment even if the trial court is of the opinion that the preponderance of the evidence is against the plaintiffs.