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In Tennessee the Remittitur of a Jury Verdict is a Reduction of the Amount of the Award by the Trial Judge

Posted on Aug 30 2015 2:18PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

In Tennessee the trial judge has the ability to reduce a jury verdict award if the court is of the opinion the verdict should be reduced based on the evidence before the trial court.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 20-10-102(a) provides as follows:

 

(a) In all jury trials had in civil actions, after the verdict has been rendered and on motion for a new trial, when the trial judge is of the opinion that the verdict in favor of a party should be reduced and a remittitur is suggested by the trial judge on that account, with the proviso that in case the party in whose favor the verdict has been rendered refuses to make the remittitur, a new trial will be awarded, the party in whose favor such verdict has been rendered may make such remittitur under protest, and appeal from the action of the trial judge to the court of appeals.

 

If the party in whose favor the verdict has been rendered refuses to accept the remittitur then a new trial will be awarded.  In the alternative, the remittitur can be accepted under protest and an appeal can be immediately pursued to the Court of Appeals to review the actual remittitur.

 

T.C.A. § 20-10-102(b) provides that the Appellate Court reviews the remittitur and can either approve the remittitur or award the amount originally awarded by the jury.  T.C.A. § 20-10-102(b) provides as follows:

 

(b) The court of appeals shall review the action of the trial court suggesting a remittitur using the standard of review provided for in T.R.A.P. 13(d) applicable to decisions of the trial court sitting without a jury. If, in the opinion of the court of appeals, the verdict of the jury should not have been reduced, but the judgment of the trial court is correct in other respects, the case shall be reversed to that extent, and judgment shall be rendered in the court of appeals for the full amount originally awarded by the jury in the trial court.

 

As a result, in Tennessee, just because a jury awards a specific damages amount does not mean this award is the final amount of damages in a case.  From a defense perspective, if an excessive award is assessed by the jury, defense counsel should pursue a remittitur in most circumstances.  There really is no downside to pursuing this remedy in the State of Tennessee.


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TAGS: Jury Issues, Damages, Post Judgment Motions Comments [0]
  
 

Employers Cannot Take Adverse Employment Actions Against Employees for Transporting or Storing Firearms in Employer Parking Area in Tennessee

Posted on Aug 16 2015 8:41PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

The 2015 Tennessee Legislature passed a new law found in Public Chapter No. 80 that provides protections to employees who keep firearms in their vehicle in employer provided parking areas.  This law created a new code section found at T.C.A. § 50-1-312.  Basically, this law provides that employers cannot take adverse employment actions against employees solely for transporting or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in an employer parking area.  If an employee is discharged or subjected to an adverse employment action in violation of this law, then the employee will have a cause of action against the employer to recover damages as well as attorney’s fees and costs. 

 

Interestingly, the employee has the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case that the adverse employment action was based solely on the transporting or storing of a firearm or firearm ammunition in the employer’s parking area.  Once the employee establishes this fact, the burden shifts to the employer to prove there was one or more legitimate other reasons that existed for the employee’s discharge or adverse employment action.  The statute of limitations for bringing a cause of action under this statute is one year from the date of termination or the date of the adverse employment action. 

 

The key sections of this new statute are as follows:

 

(b)(1)(A) No employer shall discharge or take any adverse employment action against an employee solely for transporting or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in an employer parking area in a manner consistent with§ 39-17-1313(a).

(B) An employee discharged, or subject to an adverse employment action, in violation of subdivision (b)(1)(A) shall have a cause of action against the employer to enjoin future acts in violation of this section and to recover economic damages plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.

…………

(2) In any action brought pursuant to this section, the employee shall have the burden of establishing a prima facie case of discharge, or adverse employment action, based solely on the employee's transporting or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in the employer's parking area in a manner consistent with § 39-17-1313(a). If the employee satisfies this burden, the burden shall then be on the employer to produce evidence that one (1) or more legitimate reasons existed for the employee's discharge or adverse employment action. The burden on the employer is one of production and not persuasion. If the employer produces such evidence, the presumption of discharge, or adverse employment action, raised by the employee's prima facie case is rebutted, and the burden shifts to the employee to demonstrate...

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TAGS: 2015 Tennessee Legislation, Employment Law Comments [0]
  
 

Tennessee Legislature Extends Protections to Landowners for Shooting Activities on Their Land

Posted on Aug 2 2015 4:58PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

The 2015 Tennessee Legislature passed a new law extending protections to landowners for certain shooting activities performed on their land.  Specifically, Public Chapter No. 53 was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam on April 6, 2015 and it extended protections for certain activities including “sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities”.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 70-7-102 provides the following protections for landowners in Tennessee:

 

(a) The landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of land or premises owes no duty of care to keep such land or premises safe for entry or use by others for such recreational activities as hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, water sports, white water rafting, canoeing, hiking, sightseeing, animal riding, bird watching, dog training, boating, caving, fruit and vegetable picking for the participant's own use, nature and historical studies and research, rock climbing, skeet and trap shooting, sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities, skiing, off-road vehicle riding, and cutting or removing wood for the participant's own use, nor shall such landowner be required to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such land or premises to any person entering on such land or premises for such purposes, except as provided in § 70-7-104.

 

(b) The landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of land or premises owes no duty of care to keep such land or premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational noncommercial aircraft operations or recreational noncommercial ultra light vehicle operations on private airstrips except as to known hazards or defects and except as provided in § 70-7-104.

 

As you can see, this statute already provided significant protections to landowners and now those protections are expanded further (to sporting clays, shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities).  Additionally, T.C.A. § 70-7-103 was also amended to provide that if a landowner gives permission to another to perform these activities on their land, they are not extending any assurance that the premises is safe for such purpose.  The entire T.C.A. § 70-7-103 provides the following: 

 

Any landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of the land or premises or such person's agent who gives permission to another person to hunt, fish, trap, camp, engage in water sports, participate in white water rafting or canoeing, hike, sightsee, ride animals, bird watch, train...

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TAGS: 2015 Tennessee Legislation, Immunity, Tennessee Premises Liability Comments [0]
  
 
Author

Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

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Tennessee Defense Litigation Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com

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