Punitive Damage.

Byline: Derek Hawkins

WI Court of Appeals District IV

Case Name: Christopher Hookstead v. Gary Beal, et al.,

Case No.: 2020AP895

Officials: Blanchard, P.J., Graham, and Nashold, JJ.

Focus: Punitive Damage

Christopher Hookstead filed an adverse possession claim for title to a strip of land that separates his property from property held by Gary and Peri Beal. This claim was tried to a jury, along with counterclaims made by the Beals for common law trespass and conversion as well as a counterclaim pursued under WIS. STAT. 895.446(1) (2019-20) for property damage caused by a crime. The jury found in the Beals' favor on all issues. This included awarding the Beals punitive damages of $250,000, which the circuit court reduced to $200,000. Hookstead appeals the judgment and the circuit court's order denying his post-verdict motions for a new trial or in the alternative to reduce the punitive damages award. We affirm all of the challenged circuit court decisions.

Hookstead argues that the circuit court should not have rejected his request to give the jury a special verdict question that would have distinguished one portion of the disputed property from another. We conclude that the court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in making this decision. This is because Hookstead made this request for the first time after the close of evidence at trial and the court...

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