§23.4 Damage Award in Excess of Ad Damnum

The Case: Mohr v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 2008 WL 4613584 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 14, 2008).

The Basic Facts: Plaintiffs tried products claim against manufacturer of mini-van. During trial (after the jury awarded compensatory damages but before it considered punitive damages) plaintiffs moved to increase ad damnum amount.

The Bottom Line:

  • "This Court has held that a jury may not award damages to a single plaintiff that exceeds the amount that plaintiff sued for even though the award is within the aggregate amount sought for all plaintiffs. Hansen v. Bultman, 2002 WL 31780680, *2-3 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec.13, 2002)." 2008 WL 4613584 at *15.
  • "DCC argues that the Court lacked the authority to allow the amendment because Rule 15.02 Tenn. Rule Civ. Pro. prohibits post-verdict amendments increasing the amount sued for.

    We are persuaded that allowing the amendment was within the discretion of the trial judge. Merriman v. Smith, 599 S.W.2d 548 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1979). The amendment was not allowed post-verdict. It came after the compensatory damage verdict but before the trial on the amount of punitive damages. Therefore, the motion to amend came at a time when the trial judge still had the power to allow the amendment." Id. at 15-16.

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    The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

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