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January 22, 2021

Statutory Damages Cap

Case:   Cynthia E. Yebuah et al. v. Center for Urological Treatment, PLC

Facts:   In this health care liability case, a jury awarded Patient $4 million in noneconomic damages and $500,000 to Spouse for loss of consortium. The Defendant argued that the statutory damage cap should reduce the totality of the award to $750,000. The trial court disagreed and reduced Patient’s award to $750,000 but did not reduce Spouse’s award.

Appellate Decision:   The intermediate court upheld the result, holding that Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-102(e) creates a “per plaintiff” cap on recovery rather than a “per case” cap.

Review Granted:   October 8, 2020.

Prediction:   Ben thinks the Supreme Court will affirm the intermediate court decision for the reasons expressed in the opinion. The statute repeatedly mentions compensation for “each injured plaintiff,” and loss of consortium claims are distinct causes of action from the primarily claim.