Proposed Rule Change

The Civil Rules Commission in Tennessee has proposed to change Rule 8 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and require a plaintiff to state an ad damnum.

Under current law, a plaintiff probably must state an ad damnum at some point, except in medical negligence cases. Why do I say a plaintiff probably must do so? The law is unclear. Nothing in the rules requires an ad damnum but Rule 15 prohibits a plaintiff from moving to amend the complaint post-verdict to increase the amount sued for. The concern is that if no specific amount is listed the amount of the verdict may be capped by whatever amount is in the complaint and if the only amount listed is, say, the jurisdictional amount some court somewhere might apply that as a cap. Once again, there are no cases on point (except in the medical negligence area).

I am opposed to the proposed rule change and, in fact, I do not think a plaintiff should be able state the amount sued for in the complaint. No good can come of it. I intend to write in opposition to the proposed rule. If you want to do so, write to the Supreme Court Clerk.

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