What is intentional misconduct?

Intentional misconduct is a deliberate action resulting in an injury to another person or damage to another person's property. For example, if a manufacturer deliberately sells products it knows to be defective, it is causing harm on purpose. A plaintiff alleging intentional misconduct need not compare the defendant's actions to those of a reasonable person; he or she only must show that the defendant intended his or her actions. In a civil lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleges intentional misconduct, the plaintiff can recover punitive damages in addition to awards for injuries, pain, and suffering. Punitive damages, designed to punish people or organizations for unlawful acts, are often very large sums of money. Until recently, there were few limits on the amount of money a jury could award as punitive damages. However, Congress and state legislatures recently have passed laws putting caps on punitive damage awards in certain types of cases.