If I am filing a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, I will always create an issue regarding the prayer for punitive damages. The argument is this: even if the plaintiff can escape summary adjudication of the primary claim, there still must be some additional evidence to support punitive damages. This is a difficult argument in some contexts because, for example, illegal “discrimination” is typically understood to be “malicious” by definition.
But not in every case is the inquiry coterminous. In Scott v. Phoenix Schools, Inc. the Court of Appeal held as follows:
The only evidence of wrongful conduct directed toward Scott was her termination for an improper reason. This evidence was insufficient to support a finding of despicable conduct, because such action is not vile, base or contemptible.
Hence, not all “wrongful” conduct is also “malicious.”