Suing for Punitive Damages in Memphis
In Memphis, Tennessee, civil litigation is not meant to punish wrongdoers, at least that is not its main purpose. Instead, it is designed to ensure that the victims of wrongdoing are given compensation for the harm they've suffered.
There is a major exception to this rule, however. In limited situations, courts in Memphis, Tennessee will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff damages which are not directly tied to any harm sustained by the plaintiff. Rather, these damages, which are known as "punitive damages", are meant to punish the wrongdoer, and serve as a deterrent.
In Memphis, Tennessee, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system highly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. Nonetheless, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Memphis, Tennessee
Personal injury litigation doesn't normally carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Memphis, Tennessee, because generally personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Memphis, Tennessee.
Punitive Damages in Memphis, Tennessee are only awarded in cases where the actions of the plaintiff was intentional and highly immoral, or extremely reckless. In Memphis, Tennessee, torts such as fraud, gross negligence, and theft are sufficient to award punitive damages. Courts consider numerous factors when deciding whether or not punitive damages are warranted. Courts will look at the nature of the act, as well as the defendant's intent in performing the act. This will be weighed, on a sliding scale, against the actual harm that the defendant's conduct caused to the plaintiff.
It's necessary to know that punitive damages in Memphis, Tennessee are subject to limits. The Supreme Court of the United States has held, more than once, that punitive damages can't be grossly disproportionate to the actual harm sustained by the plaintiff. Grossly excessive punitive damage awards are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has held, because they amount to the government acquiring property from the defendant without due process of law.
In general, punitive damages in Memphis, Tennessee cannot be more than 10 times larger than the actual damages sustained by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is not an absolute rule, and appeals courts in Tennessee have upheld much larger awards, and found much smaller awards to be invalid. It's decided on a case-by-case basis.
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In Memphis, Tennessee, there are a large variety of situations in which punitive damages are appropriate, because the decision to grant punitive damages is largely up to the discretion of the jury.
If you are located in Memphis, Tennessee, and are immersed in a case that you think, based on the information conveyed above, that might have punitive damages as an option, you can't be sure what, if anything, you're entitled to from the defendant until you consult with a Memphis, Tennessee civil litigation attorney
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Life in MemphisMemphis, Tennessee has something for everyone. Popular family attractions include Graceland, Main Street Trolley, AutoZone Park, and the Gibson Factory. Memphis is also known as a city rich in history, so there are many museums to see! Some museums include the National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island, and the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum.
Amongst all the cities in the United States, Memphis is deemed the twentieth largest city in the U.S. Along with Nashville, Memphis is known to be one of Tennessee's most exciting and metropolitan cities with a population of around 1,316,100 people. Downtown Memphis lies along the Mississippi River and is home to many companies and law firms. Memphis attorneys have a reputation of being competent and client oriented, focusing on providing excellent legal services to Memphis residents.