A Tennessee law limiting how much money victims can receive was rejected in Williamson court, here's what's next

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Williamson County judge issued a ruling this month challenging a state law that limits how much money victims in tort cases can receive from those found responsible. 
Williamson judge rules caps on damages to victims are unconstitutional as Supreme Court prepares 
Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley struck down a cap on compensatory damages in a case that went to trial in March, ruling that the cap, first passed in the 2011 legislative session, is unconstitutional. 
The law applies to non-economic damages, or non-monetary losses that can't be quantified, such as permanent disability, trauma or pain and suffering. The cap does not apply if a defendant is convicted of a felony that caused the injury.
Brandon Bass, who represents the plaintiff, Jennifer Carman, said he was grateful for Binkley's ruling. 
"It takes a lot of courage and honor to stand up and say other elected officials did something beyond their power," Bass said. …
The cap on non-economic damages was part of the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011, containing tort reform measures that capped non-economic damages at $750,000 per plaintiff in both health care and other civil liability cases. 
The law also tightened restrictions on awarding punitive damages, which are now limited to "the greater of two times the total amount of compensatory damages or $500,000." Those limits don't apply if the defendant was convicted of a felony that caused the injury, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
Tennessee is one of at least nine states with caps on non-economic damages in general tort or personal injury cases, according to the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School. 
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