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Punitive damages for assault and battery under MA law?

One of my close friends was beaten severely several weeks ago. He feels he was beaten because he is Caucasian and his assailants (2) were African American. I know he can sue them to collect his hospital expenses, but what about punitive damages? Are they allowed in such cases?

 
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Editor's Response

As you may know from reading other posts on The Forum, Massachusetts law does not generally allow punitive damages unless they are authorized by statute or other law.  However, there is statutory law that allows for punitive damages in cases where a person's civil rights are violated.  I am not offering an opinion on whether your friend will be entitled to such damages, but he should certainly discuss the matter with an attorney who handles tort cases (such as assault and battery).  Good luck.  For more information or to post a question, visit our Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Discussion Forum.

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