Another interesting twist to the opinion in Kitchin v. Reidelberger, A11A0459, 2011 WL 2641280 (Ga. Ct. App. July 7, 2011), was that it emphasized the law that the standard for an award of punitive damages in a nuisance case is very similar to the standard for an award of attorneys' fees to the claimant.
In Kitchin, supra, the jury had initially failed to award punitive damages when awarding the property owners their attorneys' fees in the case. The trial court then sent the jury back out to reconsider whether punitive damages should be awarded. The Court of Appeals upheld this procedure.
The case is significant in its outcome in that it shows that whenever attorneys' fees are awarded in a case of damages to land, punitive damages are also an available form of relief to the injured property owner. Accordingly, both attorneys' fees and punitive damages are a proper form of damages in a flooding, storm water, or other nuisance case.
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