According to Richard Locker of The Commercial Appeal, Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing new restrictions to the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, including a ban on class-action lawsuits, lower limits on noneconomic damage awards in personal injury cases and bans on punitive damages in certain situations.
The Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977 was adopted “to protect consumers and legitimate business enterprises from those who engage in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.”
State Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, disappointed with the Governor’s attempts to weaken the law stated that, “I have not heard of any complaints about it,” he said. “It’s not really been discussed so I don’t understand why it’s all of a sudden a problem. … It protects consumers and businesses from fly-by-night and fraudulent businesses.”
The governor’s legal counsel, Herbert Slatery, said the changes “fit within everything else: providing some clarity for business, including specified limits” on damage awards. “So many other states have done this and we want to be competitive,” he said.
Slatery said the new administration believes TCPA has been misused, a stance backed by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which brought it to the governor’s attention.
What Mr. Slatery is forgetting are the Tennessee residents who the laws are set to protect. The Governor is more concerned with protecting big business than the consumer with this legislation. I encourage you to contact your local representative to tell him about your displeasure with this law.
Should you have any legal questions, contact The Nashville Law Firm, and we’d be happy to assist you.