In this October 23 Order, Jasper County Circuit Judge Eddie Bowen ruled that Mississippi’s non-economic damages caps are not constitutional.

I previously wrote about the underlying case (Tanner v. Eagle Oil & Gas Co.) here and here. A Paulding jury rendered a $18 million non-economic verdict The total verdict in the case was $36 million.

Judge Bowen’s analysis started with the sexy issue before the Court: the post-judgment interest rate (3% in a split the baby ruling).

Judge Bowen then ruled that the $9 million loss of consortium verdict was a separate and distinct claim that retained its own separate damage cap.

Judge Bowen opened the caps analysis: “In response to political pressure, lobbyists, and special interest groups’ perceived beliefs that Mississippi was not a ‘business friendly’ environment because of prior jury verdicts, the Mississippi legislature enacted statutory ‘tort reform’…”

The Court concluded that Miss. Code Ann. 11–1–60 [caps] violates the Separation of Powers Clause of the Mississippi Constitution, the Constitutional right to trial by jury, the right to court access, the remedies granted by the Constitution, the Due Process Clause of the State and Federal Constitutions, and is a de facto amendment of the Mississippi Constitution.

My Take:

$36 million is an awfully big verdict regardless of caps.

I wonder if the Supreme Court could rule that the verdict was too high and remand for a new trial without ruling on the caps?