Thursday, January 20, 2011

5th Circuit asks MSSC to address damage caps

Philip Thomas reports a 5th Circuit decision certifying to the Mississippi Supreme Court the question of whether the statutory caps on noneconomic damages are in violation of the state constitution.

Thomas thinks that the 5th Circuit got backwards who requested and who opposed certification -- a strange error to make; presumably Thomas is relying on information from the plaintiff's attorney, Kevin Hamilton. (Whose improper remarks in closing argument escaped reversal on appeal, but not by much, thanks in part to Sears counsel's failure to object to most of them and to seek a mistrial.) Appellate counsel for Sears were Francis Citera, Gray Laird, and Gregory Ostfield, with Citera at oral argument. Laird is at Page Kruger; I don't know who Citera and Ostfield are, presumably Sears counsel.

The MSSC does not of course have to accept the question, but it would be a pretty blatant dodge of the issue. The case is a good one for reversing the caps: the plaintiff is a 19-year-old who can expect severe pain for the rest of her life.

... NMC has more.


  1. who says the certified question is limited to state constitutional issues?

    That may be a stupid question-- why would CA5 need help from a state court on federal issues-- but... I don't see it as limited to that (as I noted on my blog).

  2. I take that comment back (for reasons noted on the blog)