U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee

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Punitive damages cap upheld

September 28, 2016

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee upheld the constitutionality of the punitive damages cap.

U.S. Chamber urges Western District of Tennessee to uphold constitutionality of Tennessee legislature’s cap on punitive damages

July 05, 2016

The U.S. Chamber filed a coalition amicus brief urging the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee to uphold as constitutional Tennessee’s statutory limit on punitive damages. The Chamber argued that statutory limits on punitive damages are needed to moderate the drastic and inappropriate expansion in the availability, size, and unpredictability of punitive awards. Further, the brief explained that Tennessee’s statutory limits on punitive damages promote public confidence in the civil justice system, in addition to advancing sound economic policy. Finally, the brief noted that other courts have overwhelmingly found that statutory limits on punitive damages are constitutional, as such policy decisions do not infringe on the jury’s fact-finding role and are fully consistent with the legislature’s responsibility to make public policy decisions.

Previously, the U.S. Chamber filed this brief in the Tennessee Supreme Court, which has since deemed it an “unsuitable venue” to answer the questions at hand.

Several business groups joined this brief including the Tennesseans for Economic Growth, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Tennessee Business Roundtable, Tennessee Hospital Association, Tennessee Medical Association, State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, Associated Builders and Contractors-Greater Tennessee Chapter, National Association of Manufacturers, American Medical Association, NFIB Small Business Legal Center, American Tort Reform Association, American Insurance Association, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, American Coatings Association, Beaman Automative Group, The Bun Companies, Compass Partners LLC, Community Health Systems, Inc., HCA, Inc., Lee Company, and Smith Seckman Reid.

Phil Goldberg and Cary Silverman of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. served as counsel for the amici, as well as W. Morris Kizer of Gentry, Tipton & McLemore, P.C.

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