A legislative interim committee debated amendments to Utah's punitive damages code Wednesday, voting to establish definitions and award a portion of punitive suit awards to the state.
The amendments were originally introduced during the last legislative session but were referred to committee for future study.A large chunk of the committee's debate centered on what type of conduct warrants punitive suits. In it last meeting, the committee changed the amendments so damages could only be awarded if it was proven that the defendant misbehaved intentionally. Negligence, reckless disregard, inadvertence or mistakes were deemed insufficient to support a punitive award.
However, committee members argued that those who behave recklessly, such as drunken drivers or intoxicated doctors should be susceptible to punitive suits.