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Bolsta v. Johnson
Vermont Supreme Court
848 A.2d 306 (2004)
Sarah Bolsta (plaintiff) was injured and her car totaled in a collision caused by Michael Johnson (defendant). Immediately after the accident, Johnson removed beer bottles from his car and smashed them on the road. Two hours after the collision, Johnson had a blood alcohol level of 0.156 and said he had drunk two beers and three shots in the hour before the collision. Johnson had a suspended license because of a prior conviction for driving under the influence and three convictions for driving with a suspended license. Johnson was charged with and pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. Bolsta brought a personal-injury action against Johnson and his uninsured-motorist-insurance carrier, Concord General Mutual Insurance Co. (defendant). Johnson defaulted and was ordered to pay compensatory damages. The court denied Bolsta’s motion for punitive damages, finding that there was no evidence of malice. Bolsta appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Memorandum decision)
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