White V. Benkowski
Plaintive- The Whites
Defendant- The Benkowskis
History- The whites bought a house in 1962 that did not have its own water supply but was connected to a well that was on the property of the Benkowski. Both parties signed a written contract. The contract stated that the whites would pay for a new pump and an extra tank, as well as $3 a month and half any more repairs. After two years Trouble began when the Benkowskies shut off the water nine times. The Benkowskis said this was to let sand settle in the pipes or tell the whites they were using too much water. In a suit by the whites for breech of contract. They were at first awarded $10 compensatory and $2000 punitive. This was reduced to $1 compensatory and no punitive damages. The whites appealed the decision.
Decision- Reinstate the jury verdict as well as costs of appeal.
Reasoning- The reasoning of the court was that the punitive was entitled to both punitive and compensatory damages.
Punitive- Punitive damages are given to punish the wrongdoer for his malice and to deter others from like conduct. For this reason it was found that the Benokowshis were liable for punitive damages.
Compensatory- With the evidence that injury and inconvenience were made the juries original finding for compensatory damages should be reinstated.
Dissent- The dissent of the Benkowski’s was that the reason the water was shut off was for the excessive use of water by the whites and for necessary settling of sand that builds up in the pipes. They state that no malice acts or other wise have taken place and that therefore no breech of contract has happened.
White V Benatowski case