December 27, 2018 Practice Points

Sixth Circuit Finds Tennessee Punitive Damages Cap Unconstitutional

A divided Sixth Circuit panel has held that a Tennessee statutory cap on punitive damages constitutes an unconstitutional invasion of the right to trial by jury under the constitution of Tennessee.

By Sanford Hausler

A divided Sixth Circuit panel has held that a Tennessee statutory cap on punitive damages constitutes an unconstitutional invasion of the right to trial by jury under the constitution of Tennessee. The dissent, finding that the Tennessee rule that the amount of punitive damages is a jury question is procedural, not substantive, and, accordingly, the federal rule that the punitive damages issue is not a jury question should control. The dissent further questioned whether the constitutionality of the Tennessee punitive-damages cap was even properly before the court.

Sanford Hausler is of counsel with Cox Padmore Skolnik & Shakarchy LLP in New York, New York.


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