1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Hawks
Senate Bill 2933
AN ACT TO LIMIT PUNITIVE DAMAGE AWARDS IN FINANCIAL INJURY ACTIONS, AND TO CREATE CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS TO SUCH LIMITATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. As used in this act, the term "financial injury action" refers to any civil action in which:
(a) There is no claim for compensation made on account of personal injury;
(b) There is no claim for compensation on account of personal injury which is submitted to the trier of fact; or
(c) The trier of fact determines that there is no liability for compensation on account of any personal injury.
SECTION 2. In any financial injury action:
(a) No award of punitive damages shall exceed the greater of two (2) times the amount of total compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff in the action or Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00).
(b) Evidence of a defendant's financial condition or net worth shall not be admissible in the portion of the proceeding relating to the award of punitive damages.
(c) If the trier of fact determines that punitive damages are to be awarded, the judge shall determine the amount of the punitive damages award.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (e) of this section, punitive damages shall not be awarded against a defendant for any activity which is subject to regulation by any agency of the United States or the State of Mississippi, if the regulated activity was in compliance with applicable regulations of the United States and this state.
(e) The prohibition against awarding punitive damages in the circumstances described in subsection (d) of this section shall not apply when the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant:
(i) Knowingly and in violation of applicable state or federal agency regulations withheld or misrepresented information required to be submitted to the agency, which information was material and relevant to the harm in question; or
(ii) Made an illegal payment to an official of the federal or state agency for the purpose of securing approval of the activity.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.