Beverly Miller, et al. v. United Automax

Beverly Miller, et al. v. United Automax
W2003-01394-SC-R11-CV

This case arises out of the sale of a used car which Plaintiffs, the buyers of the car, maintain was damaged prior to sale despite Defendant’s denial of damage. A jury found for Plaintiffs, the buyers, on their claims for both common law intentional misrepresentation and for violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, Tennessee Code Annotated section 47-18-101 et seq. (1995). Plaintiffs elected to receive the punitive damages awarded by the jury under the common law claim in lieu of treble damages under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. When Plaintiffs then requested attorney’s fees under the Act, the trial court held that they could not receive both punitive damages and attorney’s fees. The trial court also held that the election of remedies made by Plaintiffs had become final before the entry of judgment and before Plaintiffs were informed of the amount they might have received in attorney’s fees under the Act and that Plaintiffs could not amend their election of remedies. The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the trial court. We reverse, holding that Plaintiffs can receive both punitive damages under the common law misrepresentation claim and attorney’s fees under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. We remand to the trial court for award of appropriate attorney’s fees and costs.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice William M. Barker
Originating Judge: 
Judge Robert A. Lanier
Date Filed: 
Friday, June 24, 2005