The issue before the Court on this appeal is whether the trial court erred in granting defendant judgment notwithstanding the verdict as to punitive damages. For the reasons stated herein, we conclude that the trial court did not err, and the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed.
This case arises out of an action for malicious prosecution instituted by plaintiff Bernard Scarborough as the result of his having been indicted, tried, and acquitted of embezzlement from his employer, defendant Dillard’s, Inc. At the outset, we note that the sufficiency of the evidence to support the underlying tort of malicious prosecution is not before the Court in that defendant did not cross appeal the trial court’s denial of its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) as to the jury’s determination of liability for malicious prosecution.
The evidence presented at trial tended to show that on 27 October 1997, plaintiff worked in the ladies’ shoe department at Dillard’s, where he had been employed part-time for approximately two years. Around 8:00 p.m., plaintiff waited on two women for approximately thirty-five to forty minutes, showing them about twenty pairs of shoes. When one of the women decided to purchase two pairs of shoes, plaintiff took the shoes to the register, scanned the shoes, and placed them in a bag. Before plaintiff completed this transaction, the other woman came to the register and asked him about trying on a pair of shoes. Plaintiff voided the first transaction so he could check the price of the shoes for that customer and to prevent his employee number from remaining in the register when he went into the stockroom to look for the shoes. Plaintiff was unable to find shoes in the width the woman needed but agreed to stretch the shoes for her. The two women stated that they would return for the third pair. The women then left Dillard’s with two pairs of shoes for which no payment had been made.
The women later returned and asked plaintiff if he could hold the third pair of shoes until the next day. Plaintiff agreed, and the woman who wanted the shoes wrote her name, Betty Jordan, on a piece of paper which plaintiff attached to the shoe box. Plaintiff also wrote his employee number on the piece of paper so he could receive credit for the sale.
After the women left, two other shoe department employees, Lynette Withers and Selma Brown, who had watched the transaction, *718commented to plaintiff that he had had a big sale and asked if they could look at the journal tape to see what the amount was. Plaintiff agreed. Upon looking at the tape Withers and Brown confirmed that the women had taken the first two pairs of shoes without paying for them. Ms. Brown told plaintiff that the sales transaction was missing. Plaintiff then called Steven Gainsboro, the manager on duty that night, to tell him what had happened. Mr. Gainsboro told plaintiff he would discuss the incident the next day with David Hicklin, the shoe department manager.
When plaintiff arrived at Dillard’s the next evening, he met with Mr. Hicklin, Kevin McCluskey, the store manager, and Sergeant Cullen Wright, a Dillard’s loss prevention employee, who also worked full time as an officer for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). During the two-hour interview, plaintiff explained that he had made a mistake, took responsibility for the incident, and offered to pay Dillard’s for the shoes. Plaintiff also offered to submit to a polygraph exam. Mr. McCluskey accused plaintiff of knowing the two women and threatened to have him prosecuted for embezzlement and ruin his full-time job at First Union National Bank if he did not provide the names of the women. Plaintiff told Mr. McCluskey that he did not know the women and could not provide their names. Sergeant Wright also participated in questioning plaintiff about the incident and took a written statement from him. At the end of the interview, Mr. McCluskey terminated plaintiff for embezzlement.
After plaintiff’s termination, Sergeant Ken Schul, another Dillard’s security guard who was employed full time as an officer for the CMPD, took statements from four Dillard’s employees, Ms. Withers, Ms. Brown, Mr. Gainsboro, and Mr. Hicklin, about plaintiff’s failed transaction. On 12 November 1997, Sergeant Schul met with Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Nathaniel Proctor to present a case against plaintiff. Upon review of the information presented, Mr. Proctor authorized the prosecution of plaintiff for embezzlement. Mr. Proctor did not ask for additional information or investigation. Thereafter, Sergeant Schul obtained a warrant for plaintiff’s arrest.
Approximately two weeks after his termination from Dillard’s, plaintiff was arrested in the atrium of One First Union Center in Charlotte while on his way to his office. Uniformed police officers, one of whom was Sergeant Wright, handcuffed plaintiff and escorted him outside to a police car. Upon his release from jail, plaintiff returned to First Union to find that his employment was suspended *719without pay because of his arrest for embezzlement and that he would be eligible to return to work only if the charges against him were cleared.
Plaintiff was subsequently indicted by the grand jury for embezzlement. Plaintiff was tried for embezzlement in Superior Court, Mecklenburg County. On 27 May 1998, a jury found plaintiff not guilty.
On 4 April 2001, plaintiff initiated this action for malicious prosecution. Following a trial in January 2005, the jury returned a verdict in plaintiffs favor, awarding him $30,000 in compensatory damages and $77,000 in punitive damages for malicious prosecution. On 24-February 2005, the trial court granted Dillard’s motion for JNOV as to punitive damages and entered an order setting aside that award. Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals, which remanded the case because, contrary to N.C.G.S. § ID-50, the trial court’s 24 February 2005 order contained no reasons why the trial court set aside the jury verdict as to punitive damages. Scarborough v. Dillard’s, Inc., 179 N.C. App. 127, 130, 632 S.E.2d 800, 803 (2006). Upon remand, the trial court filed an order on 8 January 2007 setting out the basis for its judgment notwithstanding the verdict as to punitive damages. Plaintiff appealed from that order on 9 January 2007.
The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s entry of judgment notwithstanding the verdict as to punitive damages. The Court of Appeals’ majority reviewed the issue under the “more than a scintilla of evidence” standard. Scarborough v. Dillard’s Inc., 188 N.C. App. 430, 431, 655 S.E.2d 875, 876 (2008). The dissenting judge would have affirmed the trial court as plaintiff failed to present “clear and convincing evidence” of any statutory aggravating factor required for punitive damages. Id. at 438, 655 S.E.2d at 881 (Hunter, Robert C., J., dissenting).
Defendant appealed to this Court based on the dissenting opinion in the Court of Appeals. Defendant contends that the Court of Appeals applied an incorrect standard of review and that the evidence was insufficient to support a jury’s finding of an aggravating factor. We agree.
 This Court has stated that “[t]he test for determining the sufficiency of the evidence when ruling on a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is the same as that applied when ruling on a motion for directed verdict.” Northern Nat’l Life Ins. Co. v. Lacy J. Miller Mach. Co., 311 N.C. 62, 69, 316 S.E.2d 256, 261 (1984) (citing *720 Summey v. Cauthen, 283 N.C. 640, 648, 197 S.E.2d 549, 554 (1973)). A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict “is essentially a renewal of an earlier motion for directed verdict.” Bryant v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 313 N.C. 362, 368-69, 329 S.E.2d 333, 337 (1985) (citation omitted). A motion for directed verdict “tests the legal sufficiency of the evidence to take the case to the jury and support a verdict” for the nonmovant. Manganello v. Permastone, Inc., 291 N.C. 666, 670, 231 S.E.2d 678, 680 (1977) (citing, inter alia, Investment Props. of Asheville, Inc. v. Allen, 281 N.C. 174, 188 S.E.2d 441 (1972)).
“The standard of review of directed verdict is whether the evidence, taken in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, is sufficient as a matter of law to be submitted to the jury.” Davis v. Dennis Lilly Co., 330 N.C. 314, 322, 411 S.E.2d 133, 138 (1991) (citation omitted). A directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict are therefore “not properly allowed ‘unless it appears, as a matter of law, that a recovery cannot be had by the plaintiff upon any view of the facts which the evidence reasonably tends to. establish.’ ” Manganello, 291 N.C. at 670, 231 S.E.2d at 680 (quoting Graham v. North Carolina Butane Gas Co., 231 N.C. 680, 683, 58 S.E.2d 757, 760 (1950)).
We must first determine the application of these principles to an award of punitive damages. Our General Assembly has set parameters for the recovery of punitive damages through the enactment of Chapter ID of the North Carolina General Statutes. To recover punitive damages a claimant must prove
that the defendant is liable for compensatory damages and that one of the following aggravating factors was present and was related to the injury for which compensatory damages were awarded:
(3) Willful or wanton conduct.
N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(a) • (2007). The statute further provides that a claimant “must prove the existence of an aggravating factor by clear and convincing evidence.” N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(b) (2007). When punitive damages are sought against a corporation, the claimant must further show that “the officers, directors, or managers of the corporation *721participated in or condoned the conduct constituting the aggravating factor giving rise to punitive damages.” N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(c) (2007).
The clear and convincing standard requires evidence that “ ‘should fully convince.’ ” In re Will of McCauley, 356 N.C. 91, 101, 565 S.E.2d 88, 95 (2002) (quoting Williams v. Blue Ridge Bldg. & Loan Ass’n, 207 N.C. 362, 364, 177 S.E. 176, 177 (1934)). This burden is more exacting than the “preponderance of the evidence” standard generally applied in civil cases, but less than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard applied in criminal matters. Williams, 207 N.C. at 363-64, 177 S.E. at 177.
Plaintiff argues that whether the evidence is clear and convincing is for the jury to decide; and if there is more than a scintilla of evidence from which the jury could infer the existence of the aggravating factor, the determination should be left to the jury. The plain language of the statute, however, does not support this contention in the context of punitive damages.
The statute provides that a trial court in “upholding or disturbing” an award of punitive damages must “address with specificity the evidence, or lack thereof, as it bears on the liability for or the amount of punitive damages, in light of the requirements of this Chapter.” N.C.G.S. § ID-50 (2007) (emphasis added). This language, coupled with that in N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(b) requiring proof by “clear and convincing evidence,” manifests that the General Assembly intended that the quantum of evidence be more than would be sufficient to uphold liability for the underlying tort and that the trial court have a role in ascertaining whether the evidence presented was sufficient to support a jury’s finding of the factor under the standard established by the legislature. See, e.g., Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 216 (1986) (stating that for purposes of a directed verdict “the determination of whether a given factual dispute requires submission to a jury must be guided by the substantive evidentiary standards that apply to the case” and that where “clear and convincing” evidence is required, the inquiry is “whether the evidence presented is such that a jury applying that evidentiary standard could reasonably find for either the plaintiff or the defendant”).
In light of these principles, we hold that in reviewing a trial court’s ruling on a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on punitive damages, our appellate courts must determine whether the nonmovant produced clear and convincing evidence from which a jury could reasonably find one or more of the statutory aggravating *722factors required by N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(a) and that that aggravating factor was related to the injury for which compensatory damages were awarded. Reviewing the trial court’s ruling under the “more than a scintilla of evidence” standard does not give proper deference to the statutory mandate that the aggravating factor be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Evidence that is only more than a scintilla cannot as a matter of law satisfy the nonmoving party’s threshold statutory burden of clear and convincing evidence.
 Having determined the applicable standard of review, we must now determine whether plaintiff presented clear and convincing evidence from which a jury applying that standard could reasonably find that the officers, directors, or managers of defendant Dillard’s participated in or condoned conduct that was (i) malicious or willful or wanton and (ii) was related to the injury for which compensatory damages were awarded.
We initially note that although the dissenting opinion relies on plaintiff’s failure to assign error to the trial court’s findings of fact, defendant does not raise this issue in its new brief to this Court. Normally, when an appellant fails to assign error to findings of fact by the trial court, the findings are binding on the appellate court, Koufman v. Koufman, 330 N.C. 93, 97, 408 S.E.2d 729, 731 (1991) (citing, inter alia, Schloss v. Jamison, 258 N.C. 271, 275, 128 S.E.2d 590, 593 (1962)), and the only question is whether the trial court’s findings support the conclusions of law, Quick v. Quick, 305 N.C. 446, 451, 290 S.E.2d 653, 657 (1982), which are reviewable de novo. Humphries v. City of Jacksonville, 300 N.C. 186, 187, 265 S.E.2d 189, 190 (1980) (citing, inter alia, Food Lion Stores, Inc. v. City of Salisbury, 300 N.C. 21, 265 S.E.2d 123 (1980)). However, this Court, in reviewing trial court rulings on motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, has held that the trial court should not make findings of fact, and if the trial court finds facts, they are not binding on the appellate court. Kelly v. Int’l Harvester Co., 278 N.C. 153, 158-59, 179 S.E.2d 396, 398-99 (1971). Moreover, the language of the statute does not require findings of fact, but rather that the trial court “shall state in a written opinion its reasons for upholding or disturbing the finding or award. In doing so, the court shall address with specificity the evidence, or lack thereof, as it bears on the liability for or the amount of punitive damages.” N.C.G.S. § ID-50. That the trial court utilizes findings to address with specificity the evidence bearing on liability for punitive damages is not improper; the “findings,” however, merely provide a convenient format with which all trial *723judges are familiar to set out the evidence forming the basis of the judge’s opinion. The trial judge does not determine the truth or falsity of the evidence or weigh the evidence, but simply recites the evidence, or lack thereof, forming the basis of the judge’s opinion. As such, these findings are not binding on the appellate court even if unchallenged by the appellant. These findings do, however, provide valuable assistance to the appellate court in determining whether as a matter of law the evidence, when considered in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, is sufficient to be considered by the jury as clear and convincing on the issue of punitive damages.
 We next consider defendant’s contentions that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence of willful or wanton conduct or of malice on the part of defendant to support the jury’s award of punitive damages. The General Assembly has defined “willful or wanton conduct” as “the conscious and intentional disregard of and indifference to the rights and safety of others, which the defendant knows or should know is reasonably likely to result in injury, damage, or other harm. ‘Willful or wanton conduct’ means more than gross negligence.” N.C.G.S. § lD-5(7) (2007).
Plaintiff relies on two cases in support of his contention that defendant’s “superficial and cursory investigation” of the alleged embezzlement evidences “a ‘reckless and wanton disregard of [his] rights’ Jones v. Gwynne, 312 N.C. 393, 408-09, 323 S.E.2d 9, 18 (1984), receded from by Hawkins v. Hawkins, 331 N.C. 743, 417 S.E.2d 447 (1992), and Williams v. Boylan-Pearce, Inc., 69 N.C. App. 315, 319, 317 S.E.2d 17, 20 (1984), aff’d per curiam, 313 N.C. 321, 327 S.E.2d 870 (1985). Plaintiff’s reliance on these cases is misplaced as each of them is distinguishable on its facts from the present case.
In Jones this Court determined that the evidence was sufficient for submission to the jury on the issue of punitive damages based on the fact that the investigation conducted by defendant Gwynne, the regional security officer for McDonald’s Corporation, “was conducted ‘in a manner which showed the reckless and wanton disregard of the plaintiff’s rights.’ ” Jones, 312 N.C. at 405, 323 S.E.2d at 16. One witness testified that she saw the plaintiff Ray Jones, McDonald’s store manager, ring numerous consecutive “no sales” and put the money in the register, yet time cards showed that this particular witness had worked less than half the days she allegedly saw the plaintiff ring the “no sales.” Id. at 406, 312 S.E.2d at 17. Although Gwynne had reviewed the daily store records, the register journal tapes, the managers’ schedules, the crew schedules, and the employee time *724cards for the period in question, he failed to make any notations as to when the witness worked and at trial did not know where the time cards could be located. Id. Moreover, no evidence was adduced at trial that the McDonald’s restaurant showed a shortage of money for any day or that any McDonald’s money was ever missing from that store. Id. Gwynne never performed an audit of the McDonald’s nor did he order that an audit of the store’s records be performed. Id. at 406-07, 323 S.E.2d at 17. After Gwynne discussed the case with two of his superiors, he talked with two detectives, telling them that he thought they had enough evidence to charge the plaintiff with embezzlement. Id. at 408, 323 S.E.2d at 18. Gwynne also suggested that one of the detectives discuss the case with an assistant district attorney. Id. The ADA advised the detective that although it sounded like a good case, if the detective “ ‘could get more information as to the actual conversion of the money ... it certainly would be better.’ ” Id. At the time of the events in question, Gwynne was an employee of McDonald’s Corporation and was not a sworn law enforcement officer, although he had previously been an SBI agent and a Chief Deputy Sheriff. Id. at 406, 323 S.E.2d at 16. By contrast, in the instant case the undisputed evidence is that the investigation was handled by Sergeants Wright and Schul acting in their capacity as CMPD officers. ADA Proctor did not ask for any additional investigation or information when presented with the case. Most importantly, the evidence was undisputed that plaintiff voided the sales transaction and permitted the two customers to leave the store with two pairs of shoes for which no payment had been received.
In Williams the plaintiff, a part-time employee during the Christmas season, was working in the jewelry department at the defendant department store. 69 N.C. App. at 316, 317 S.E.2d at 18. The sales people were permitted to model the jewelry to encourage customers to purchase it. Id. One evening at closing, after rushing to get the 14 karat gold jewelry into the safe and to leave before the lights were turned off, the plaintiff walked out of the store without removing a pair of earrings she had been wearing during the day. Id. She was seized by J.M. Lynch, an off-duty police officer hired to provide store security, and was taken back into the store. Id. She was ushered into a small room and questioned by three employees about an alleged theft of earrings. Id. at 316-17, 317 S.E.2d at 18. The plaintiff offered to return the earrings she had been wearing during the day,but Lynch continued to look for other earrings by examining the contents of the plaintiff’s purse without her consent. Id. at 317, 317 S.E.2d at 18. Lynch later testified that he did not stop the plaintiff *725because she was wearing the store earrings out of the store, but because he thought she had taken other earrings earlier when he saw her bend down and do something under the counter. Id. When Lynch’s search of the plaintiff’s purse revealed only the plaintiff’s own earrings, Karen Beasley, head of the defendant’s security force, subjected the plaintiff to a body search. Id. at 317, 317 S.E.2d at 19. The plaintiff’s requests to call her father were refused until after the search failed to reveal any evidence of stolen property. Id.
Lynch had the plaintiff transported to the magistrate’s office, where he attempted to have her charged with felonious larceny. Id. The magistrate would only issue a warrant for misdemeanor larceny of two pairs of earrings. Id. The plaintiff was found not guilty of these charges in District Court. Id. On this evidence the Court of Appeals concluded that the jury could find that the plaintiff “was treated rudely and oppressively.” Id. at 320, 317 S.E.2d at 20. The Court of Appeals also concluded that the evidence of Lynch’s failure to take an inventory to determine if jewelry was missing, his failure to check the plaintiff’s sales book to determine if she had made any sales, and his failure to check with anyone regarding the plaintiff’s personnel record or her character constituted evidence from which the jury could find reckless and wanton disregard of the plaintiff’s rights. Id. at 320, 317 S.E.2d at 20-21.
Again, in the instant case the evidence is undisputed that plaintiff failed to ring the sale and permitted the customers to leave the store with two pairs of shoes for which payment had not been tendered. The evidence is undisputed that Sergeant Schul presented the results of the investigation to an ADA before obtaining a warrant from the magistrate.
Nevertheless, plaintiff argues that as in Jones and Williams, defendant acted willfully and wantonly in reckless disregard of his rights in its investigation of the incident by failing to inquire into his character and employment records, as well as failing to obtain statements from all possible witnesses, including Betty Jordan, one of the two women who received the shoes. Plaintiff further argues defendant did not divulge exculpatory evidence to the police.
We find these arguments unpersuasive in light of the investigation conducted by Sergeants Wright and Schul before the case was submitted to ADA Proctor. Plaintiff was interviewed by Sergeant Wright, Mr. Hicklin, and Mr. McCluskey the day after the incident and before he was fired. Sergeant Wright took a written statement from *726plaintiff during this meeting. The officers took statements from plaintiff’s coworkers, Ms. Brown and Ms. Withers, as well as from his supervisors Mr. Gainsboro and Mr. McCluskey. Ms. Withers’s statement expressed her belief that plaintiff had given the shoes to the women on purpose, even though Gainsboro thought plaintiff had made a mistake. However, Mr. Gainsboro’s statement does not reflect that he thought plaintiff had made a mistake. The relevance of this allegedly exculpatory evidence involving Mr. Gainsboro’s opinion about whether plaintiff made a mistake or acted intentionally is problematic at best. In Jones the undiscovered or undisclosed exculpatory evidence was presented by the plaintiff at trial and demonstrated that had the investigator discovered this evidence, the defendant would have known that no money was missing from McDonald’s. In this case Mr. Gainsboro’s initial opinion that plaintiff made a mistake has no bearing on the existence of missing property or goods. Further, though the record does not disclose why Mr. Gainsboro’s statement fails to mention his initial opinion or impression, Mr. Gainsboro would have been entitled to change his opinion. Moreover, that Mr. Gainsboro initially thought plaintiff made a mistake was disclosed through Ms. Withers’s statement. Certainly this omission does not rise to the level of clear and convincing evidence of willful or wanton reckless disregard of plaintiff’s rights in conducting the investigation. Although defendant’s investigation may not have been perfect and could perhaps have included statements from additional witnesses, unlike in Jones and Williams, plaintiff has not adduced any evidence that this additional investigation that plaintiff thinks could have been conducted would have changed the officers’ decision to present the case to the ADA. We simply do not know what any additional investigation would have revealed. Speculation is not probative evidence of willful or wanton conduct.
 Plaintiff next contends that defendant acted with a conscious and intentional disregard of his rights in procuring his prosecution knowing that it would cause him to lose his full-time job at First Union Bank despite evidence showing that he simply made a mistake in forgetting to charge the women for the shoes. Plaintiff testified that during the meeting the day after the incident occurred, Mr. McCluskey repeatedly accused him of knowing the two women and threatened to “mess up” his job at First Union if he did not tell Dillard’s who the women were. Plaintiff testified that he told Mr. McCluskey that he did not know the women and that he would take a polygraph test to clear his name. At the time of the meeting, Dillard’s was in possession of the piece of paper with the name *727“Betty Jordan” on it, which had been placed by plaintiff on the box of shoes that he had put on hold for one of the women who was supposed to return the next day to purchase the shoes.
While plaintiff’s characterization of Mr. McCluskey’s statements reveals that Mr. McCluskey may have been somewhat intemperate in his interview with plaintiff, interviews such as this one are always stressful. The pertinent question is whether, under the circumstances, Mr. McCluskey’s statements to plaintiff that he was suspected of embezzlement and that if he were charged with embezzlement, it would adversely affect plaintiff’s position at First Union Bank constitutes evidence of reckless disregard for plaintiff’s rights, or whether Mr. McCluskey simply confronted plaintiff with the truth. That being charged with embezzlement would affect a person’s job with a bank is indisputable. The underlying premise of plaintiff’s argument is that Mr. McCluskey acted inappropriately by not merely accepting plaintiff’s explanation that he made a mistake by forgetting to re-ring the sale. Department store managers have an obligation to protect the safety and security of people and property within the store. Common sense dictates that a store manager cannot be precluded from taking investigative measures necessary to fulfill this obligation when confronted with the information Mr. McCluskey had in this instance. Refusing to accept an employee’s explanation and telling an employee the consequences of the situation do not equate with reckless disregard of an employee’s rights.
 Plaintiff next argues that he presented sufficient evidence of malice on the part of defendant in procuring his felony prosecution to support the jury’s award of punitive damages. In the context of punitive damages, “[m]alice” is defined as “a sense of personal ill will toward the claimant that activated or incited the defendant to perform the act or undertake the conduct that resulted in harm to the claimant.” N.C.G.S. § lD-5(5) (2007).
Plaintiff argues that malice can be evidenced by his previous reprimand by Mr. McCluskey for referring a customer to another shoe store. Plaintiff testified that at the beginning of his meeting with management the day after the incident, Mr. McCluskey repeatedly said, “I cannot believe you’re [Scarborough] in my office again.” Plaintiff also argues that the prosecution was due to Mr. McCluskey’s belief that plaintiff was so inept that the women were able to dupe him out of the shoes rather than any honest belief that plaintiff had intentionally given away the shoes. These arguments are too speculative and fall well short of constituting clear and convincing evidence from *728which a jury could conclude that Mr. McCluskey acted with malice under N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(a).
In conclusion, we hold that the proper standard of review of a trial court’s ruling on a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict as to punitive damages is whether the nonmovant produced clear and convincing evidence of one of the statutory aggravating factors for punitive damages.
Inasmuch as we have determined that the evidence in this case is not sufficient to support a jury’s finding of a statutory aggravating factor by clear and convincing evidence, we do not reach the issues of whether the factor “was related to the injury” or whether one of defendant’s “officers, directors, or managers . . . participated in or condoned the conduct constituting the aggravating factor giving rise to punitive damages.” N.C.G.S. § 1D-I5(c).
For the forgoing reasons, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed.