Subject Matter: TN Appellate Decision RE: Punitive Damages
This is a key, new punitive damage decision that came out yesterday from the Tennessee Supreme Court. The case involved a death allegedly from defective seat backs in a Dodge Caravan.
Originally, the punitive damages were $ 98 million. By the time the case got to the Tennessee Supreme Court it was down to $ 13,367,345 to a compensatory verdict of $ 2,500,000 as to Chrysler (a
1 to 5.35 ratio). The Tennessee Supreme Court held the 1 to 5:35 ratio was constitutionally permissible, although it was approaching the outer limits of the U.S. Supreme Court opinions in Gore and Campbell.
From a LTC perspective, it is worth noting the Tennessee Supreme Court rejected an argument that the punitive damages should be limited to a ratio in line with statutory fines for reckless conduct.
Written by Larry Brock of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel and shared with his permission.
Firm/Company: Chambliss Bahner & Stophel
Document Date: July 25 2008
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