New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That Absence of Emotional Distress Damages Award Does Not Preclude Consideration of Punitive Damages

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently held in Rusak v. Ryan Automotive, LLC that a plaintiff was entitled to further proceedings on her punitive damages claim following a jury verdict in her favor on her hostile work environment and retaliation claims even though the jury did not award her emotional distress damages and rejected her separate intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Although the case involved unique circumstances that are unlikely to be present in future matters, the decision serves as a reminder that the absence of an emotional distress award does not preclude further proceedings on punitive damages.