Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Compensatory damages; punitive damages
Christopher S. Cormier, Theodore F. Vansingel, and Todd J. Dipiero appeal the order requiring them to pay Lauren I. Pausch $1,030,847.59 compensatory and $1.5 million punitive damages, which the circuit court awarded following a default judgment entered on Pausch’s intentional-tort complaint against the three men. Cormier, Vansingel, and Dipiero claim: (1) the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion when it denied their motion to vacate the default judgment; (2) there is insufficient evidence to support the $1 million compensatory damage award (the defendants do not challenge the $30,847.59 part of this award); and (3) the circuit court erred in awarding punitive damages because, they argue: (a) it awarded punitive damages to compensate instead of punish, (b) it awarded too much, and (c) it did not allow evidence of the defendants’ wealth. We affirm the circuit court’s denial of the defendants’ motion to vacate the default judgment, and we affirm its award of compensatory damages. We also hold that the circuit awarded punitive damages for the proper purpose—to punish—and that the punitive damage award was not excessive. We remand, however, for clarification as to whether the punitive award was imposed jointly or individually. Publication in the official reports is not recommended.
Dist I, Milwaukee County, Cooper, J., Fine, J.
Attorneys: For Appellant: Zales, Nicholas C., Milwaukee; For Respondent: Stawski, Christopher J., Milwaukee