Kaopuiki v. Kealoha - punitive damages and drunk driving
Personal Injury News Items
The lead case on the recovery of punitive damages for drunk driving in Hawaii is the case of Kaopuiki v. Kealoha, 104 Hawai'i 241, 87 P.3d 910 (Hawai'i App. 2003). In that case a drunk driver died in the head-on car crash which he caused by crossing the center line - an accident which also injured others. In that case the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals recognized a new purpose for the recovery of punitive damages - "facilitating the recovery of a plaintiff's attorneys fees". On this basis the Hawaii court found that punitive damages could be recovered not only against a drunk driver but even against a deceased drunk driver's estate.
Game Truck Georgia was recently hit with a $4.7 million judgment for injuries arising out of a game of "bubble soccer". But this was after they had pleaded with their insurer to settle those same claims for a pretrial offer of $1 million - which was within their policy limits. Their insurer, Atlantic Specialty Insurance, declined those offers and forced the case to trial. Now the attorneys for Game Truck Georgia are chasing their own insurance company for its bad faith refusal to settle - a refusal which led to the insolvency and desctruction of their business.
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