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Can I ask the court to award 'punitive damages' to non-party charity?

Chicago, IL |

Is it possible to ask the court during trial or sometime prior to trial to award "punitive" damages to a non-party charity rather than the Plaintiff?

I can understand the plaintiff possibly being awarded compensatory damages? but why should the plaintiff also be awarded punitive damages when that $ amount won't make the plaintiff 'whole', but purely serves to punish?

Is it possible to ask the court to split the award between compensatory (to the plaintiff) and punitive (to some charity of the court or plaintiff's choice)?

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Attorney answers 5


Not going to happen.

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No, you don't have that option.


I have heard of awards to charities in really large cases. I do not think you can ask for it in a small case. It would seem problematic if it were a jury trial. How the jury would be influenced by sending money to a charity. Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the defendant and deter the conduct punished. The plaintiff is free to do what it chooses with the punitive damages, including donating the money to the charity of its choice.


A person or entity who is not a party cannot be ordered to do or pay anything. The court does not have jurisdiction over a non-party person or entity.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein


Sorry, I misunderstood your question. Please disregard my answer.



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