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Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals abandons long standing precedent which had barred the award of punitive damages in a prisoner’s civil rights action where no physical injury was shown

On April 9, 2021, in Hoever v. Marks, et al., No. 17-10792, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals abandoned long standing precedent within the Circuit which had barred the award of punitive damages in a prisoner’s civil rights action where no physical injury was shown. The Court opined that the previous denial had been based on an erroneous interpretation of a provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). In reversing its position, the Eleventh Circuit joined seven other federal circuits which have determined that § 1997e(e) does not bar punitive damages in the absence of physical injury.

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