17:1 Ratio on Punitive to Compensatory Damages Cannot Stand--For Want of a Sufficiently High Ad Damnum.

RHEATTA F. WILSON, ET AL. v. AMERICARE SYSTEMS, INC., ET AL.
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Roger W. Dickson and Robert F. Parsley, Chattanooga, Tennessee; and David L. Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee for the appellant, Americare Systems, Inc.

C. J. Gideon, Jr. and Alan S. Bean, Nashville, Tennessee; and Raymond W. Fraley, Jr., Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Rheaetta F. Wilson and Lauralyn F. Watson.

Judge: BENNETT

A defendant appeals the award of punitive damages arising from the death of a patient at an assisted living facility, which the defendant managed. We affirm the trial court’s review of the Hodges factors and the due process analysis relating to the punitive damage award. We also affirm the trial court’s directed verdict making the defendant liable for the actions of the assisted living facility’s employees. We must modify the amount of the punitive damage award by reducing it to comply with the amount the plaintiff requested in the ad damnum clause of their complaint.

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