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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Plaintiffs Capped by the Ad Damnum in The Complaint

The Tennessee Court of Appeals just issued its opinion in Wilson v. Americare Systems, Inc., No. M2013-00690-COA-RM-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 25, 2014).  The summary in the slip opinion states as follows:
A defendant appeals the award of punitive damages arising from the death of a patient at an assisted living facility, which the defendant managed. We affirm the trial court’s review of the Hodges factors and the due process analysis relating to the punitive damage award. We also affirm the trial court’s directed verdict making the defendant liable for the actions of the assisted living facility’s employees. We must modify the amount of the punitive damage award by reducing it to comply with the amount the plaintiff requested in the ad damnum clause of their complaint.
Here is a link to the opinion:

This opinion is a harsh reminder that a plaintiff is limited by the ad damnum in the complaint in a Tennessee state court civil action, which is contrary to the rule in federal court.

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