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Mississippi Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of Damage Caps (?)

A prosecutor in court

In 2002, the Mississippi legislature passed a law capping non-economic damages (“pain and suffering”) at $1 million. However, the 5th Circuit Court of appeals has asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to determine if this statute is constitutional.

In the case, Learmonth v. Sears and Roebuck Co, Learmonth sued Sears and Roebuck Co. after she had been involved in a collision with one of the company’s vans. A U.S. District Court jury found Sears liable for her injuries and awarded Learmonth $4 million in damages, of which the parties agreed $2.2 million were for non-economic damages. The judge reduced the non-economic damages to $1 million.

In its appeal, Sears asked the 5th Circuit for a new trial, which the appeals court panel denied. Learmonth appealed the decision to reduce the non-economic damages. The 5th Circuit panel referred that issue to the Mississippi court. “This is an important question of state law, determinative of the non-economic damages issue in this case, for which there is no controlling precedent from the Supreme Court of Mississippi,” Chief Judge Edith H. Jones wrote for the panel.

This is potentially good news for citizens in Mississippi. “Caps” on damage recoveries does nothing to prevent frivolous lawsuits. Instead, “caps” prevent a person who has been severely injured from fully recovering. Can you imagine if the Legislature passed a “cap” how much money insurance executives could make or how much they could charge us? They would be raising hell and arguing that their “rights” were being violated.

When insurance companies and big businesses cause damage to a Mississippi citizen, they should have to pay in full. Charles R. “Chuck” Mullins has been fighting for Mississippi citizens for 16 years. Read more about Chuck at his website.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.