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Should a Claim for Punitive Damages Survive Death?, Consultation Memorandum 5
The purpose of this Consultation Memorandum is to invite comment as to whether or not a claim for punitive damages should survive the claimant’s death. This memorandum addresses the nature of punitive damages, present Alberta law and its history, reasons for and against allowing punitive damages, and whether reasons for non-survivability of damages for non-pecuniary losses in general apply to punitive damages. Comment is invited on several issues including: should the Survival of Actions Act be amended to provide for the survival of claims for punitive or exemplary damages? Will a legal situation in which punitive damages is upon occasion the only remedy that is not precluded by survival legislation influence courts to change the requirements for wards of punitive damages? Are many claims for punitive damages which otherwise might be strong enough to pursue not brought because the survival legislation precludes them? Are there many cases in which claimants with valid claims for punitive damages die before they can pursue the claims to judgment?