Saturday, October 17, 2015
The Tennessee Supreme Court Rules That the Issue of Whether Caps on Noneconomic Damages Are Constitutional Is Not Ripe at This Time
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the issue of whether caps on noneconomic damages are unconstitutional is not ripe at this time. Clark v. Cain, No. E2015-00949-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Oct. 16, 2015) (per curiam), available at http://www2.tncourts.gov/PublicCaseHistory/CaseDetails.aspx?id=64104&Business=True (last visited Oct. 17, 2015). (Please scroll down under the heading of "Case History" to view the order.)
With this order, the Court accepted the defendants' and the State's applications for permission to appeal, ruled that this issue was not ripe at this time, vacated the trial court's ruling that caps were unconstitutional, and remanded the matter back to the trial court. (Id.)
As much as I would have liked to have seen this issue decided now, this appears to the correct decision by the Court. However, the plaintiffs had to challenge the caps preverdict because it had been decided by at least one other state's high court that a plaintiff was precluding from challenging that state’s caps postverdict and should have done so preverdict.
NOTE: Thanks to Jon Peeler of Nashville, Tenn. for bringing this to my attention last night.
P.S. Here is what I think about tort "reform," which caps on noneconomic damages are a part of. Watch the clip below: pay attention to it at about the one-minute mark, to wit: