Learn more about Texas damages caps in employment cases with a discrimination lawyer from Carter Law Group today.
Despite all the headlines to the contrary, bringing a civil lawsuit is hard, especially in Texas. People hear about large verdicts from runaway juries, about millions and millions of dollars from “hot coffee.”
But they don’t hear about the laws that protect bad actors from large verdicts (or just how wrong those “hot coffee” jokes are).
In employment cases, federal and Texas damages cap, or arbitrarily limit, the amount a plaintiff can recover, regardless of how bad the defendant behaved. In most cases, the compensatory and punitive damages (the damages for mental anguish and to punish really bad-acting defendants) are based on the size of the employer.
So, a plaintiff is generally subject to the following damage caps:
- 15 to 100 employees: $50,000
- 101 to 200 employees: $100,000
- 201 to 500 employees: $200,000
- 501 and more employees: $300,000
Now, the people in favor of employment discrimination damages caps would argue that these artificial limits protect businesses from unfair verdicts from crazy juries. But they’re wrong.
Why Damages Caps Are Bad?
1. Manufactured limits on damages remove personal responsibility from bad employers.
Juries give large verdicts for a reason. When you see multi-million-dollar verdicts in the news, a jury was almost certainly punishing a defendant for bad behavior. Unlike the general public, a jury spent days or weeks reviewing all the defendant’s dirty laundry related to the lawsuit. Damages caps only protect bad actors from the consequences of their actions.
2. Damages caps expose the public to future harms.
Like it or not, large verdicts force business owners and corporate leaders to fix problems in their organizations.
If a large corporations knows that they most they ever have to pay is $300,000, even under the most egregious facts, owners and managers are less like to pay the money, attention and time necessary to correctly monitor and train their managers and employees.
As we all know in today’s world, these large companies often only listen when their bank accounts get involved.
3. Statutory limits on damages prevent the jury system from working efficiently.
Caps severely limit the natural value of a case, which hurts the efficiency of the legal system in a few ways.
First, many plaintiffs can only afford to bring a lawsuit if an attorney will take the case on a contingency fee (the attorney fronts the cost of fees and expenses until the case resolves so the plaintiff does not have out-of-pocket expenses).Plaintiffs being unable to find an attorney to take their case slows the discovery and public knowledge of bad actors.
Second, damages caps only protect the absolute worst employer behavior.
For instance, a lawsuit with disputed facts or marginally bad behavior by the defendant will almost always naturally settle below the caps because each side has risk appropriate to the facts. But when you have damages caps in a case with terrible facts for the defendant, the defendant knows that the worst a jury can do, regardless of how angry they get, is only the amount of the cap.
So, of course, the plaintiff is forced to settle at or below the cap amount.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain damages caps to my very frustrated clients. I understand their frustration. But I will tell you what I always tell them.
When you vote for “tort reform,” these policies are what you’re getting.
So, write your legislators; tell them you do not support damages caps in civil cases. And vote. Vote for public servants who do not support “tort reform.”
Contact an Employment Discrimination Lawyer today
If you are a victim of employment discrimination, contact Carter Law Group at (214) 390-4173. We can help you through this emotionally difficult time and get you the monetary recompense you are due for your discriminatory mistreatment.
We understand women and men who are victims of employment discrimination violations and we are well known for protecting and enforcing the rights of our clients. Call us now!