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Litigation: 5th Circuit to rule on constitutionality of Mississippi's cap on noneconomic damages

Courts in Illinois, Georgia and Missouri have declared statutory damage caps unconstitutional in recent years

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will soon address the constitutionality of Mississippi's statutory $1 million cap on noneconomic damages for civil cases. In Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Learmonth, the 5th Circuit certified the constitutionality question to the Mississippi Supreme Court; but the Mississippi Supreme Court ultimately declined to answer the question. The issue is now back before the 5th Circuit, with briefing to conclude on Dec. 3.

There have been several prior appellate challenges to the constitutionality of Mississippi's statutory cap, but to date those cases have either been resolved before an appellate court ruling or were decided on other grounds. And, although there are pending appeals before the Mississippi Supreme Court that also challenge the constitutionality of Mississippi's noneconomic damage caps, the 5th Circuit's Learmonth ruling is likely be the first opinion to be issued.

Contributing Author

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David Maron

David F. Maron is a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC (Birmingham). He concentrates his practice in defense of both government...

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