On Wednesday the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict of $2.8 million in Learmonth vs. Sears, Roebuck and Co. The Court also certified the issue of the constitutionality of Mississippi’s caps on non-economic damages to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The case was based on an auto accident between plaintiff’s car and a Sears van. Plaintiff suffered a brain injury and numerous broken bones.
The case was tried in Jackson in November 2008. [Correction: it was an Eastern Division case and the trial was in Meridian]. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $4 million, of which $2.2 million was non-economic damages. The trial court reduced the non-economic award to $1 million due to the non-economic damages cap.
Plaintiff asked the Court to certify the cap issue to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Sears initially opposed the request due to the Lymas v. Doublequick case. But Sears withdrew its objection after the Court did not reach the cap issue in that case. The current version of the 5th Circuit opinion mistakenly says that Sears requested certification and the Plaintiff initially opposed it. The opposite is true.
Kevin Hamilton and the Hamilton Law Firm in Jackson represented the Plaintiff. Gray Laird of Page Kruger represented Sears at trial. Greenberg Traurig represented Sears on appeal.
Judge Tom Lee was the trial judge.
I will have commentary on this case later—probably early next week.